Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation is an independent Public Benefit Organisation. It advances programmes that target socioeconomic challenges in education, small business development, youth development, social cohesion and nation building as well as those affecting children, women and families.

The Foundation has its origins as Shanduka Foundation, which was launched in 2004 as the CSI arm of the Shanduka Group. The Foundation changed its name in 2015 following Cyril Ramaphosa’s divestment from the Shanduka Group, and transitioned from being a corporate foundation to an independent foundation.

At its inception, the Foundation set out its mandate to improve education and grow small Black-owned businesses. For the Foundation, progress in education and enterprise development are the most direct means to improving the quality of life for South Africa’s people and to promote the Foundation’s purpose to develop an inclusive and empowered society.

This is in solidarity with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address poverty, inequality, inclusive economic growth, and decent work for all. It is also aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP), which stresses education, skills and work opportunities as key capabilities for decent lives.

Education and training are critical to the development and self-fulfilment of people, including to function in society and earn livelihoods, and contributes to social, economic and psychological well-being. Education is believed to be significant in interrupting the cycle of poverty and reducing inequality of opportunity and income. Education provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to make informed choices and to meaningfully participate in their communities and take advantage of opportunities.

However, access to quality education does not guarantee employment and other economic benefits because these are often limited by a challenged economic environment. In addition to its economic and social consequences, particularly
in increasing inequality, poverty and the meeting of basic needs, unemployment negatively affects individual agency, identity, mental health and well-being.

The Foundation therefore actively advocates for small business development support as a significant enabler of equitable economic participation that drives entrepreneurship and job creation. Advancing small business development may foster inclusion and diversity, and promote local economic and social development.

All human beings have fundamental rights and needs that are universally recognised. This includes the enabling rights to education and work, which are vital for overcoming systemic inequalities and securing social justice.

Overcoming the deep-rooted legacies of historical injustice in South Africa and achieving a thoroughly inclusive society that fulfils the human rights of all, requires a combination of efforts on the part of many, including Government, NGO, business, labour and community. It also involves a variety of approaches, including policy, legislation, grassroots mobilisation, advocacy, and practical implementation of development programmes.

Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation develops and implements programmes to realise quality basic education, expand access to higher education and training, and promote entrepreneurship and employment. Together, these programmes traverse an arc of life, offering an integrated development strategy that is enhanced through cross-leveraged value by each of the programmes.

The Foundation’s programmes are implemented by its distinctly devoted partner entities: Adopta-School, KST, Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET), and Black Umbrellas.

Adopt-a-School implements a Whole School Development (WSD) model that aims at improving the governance, academic, infrastructural and social environment in some of the least resourced and marginalised schools in the country. These schools suffer poor infrastructure, an acute lack of resources, deficient sanitation, inadequate security, discipline and management challenges, and critical social welfare problems. The implementation of the holistic WSD model addresses these factors that obstruct the provision of quality education, and drives the vision of a dynamic, transformed and accessible schooling environment. Adopt-a-School has supported 281 schools to date, benefitting 786 515 learners.

The Thari Programme, which is being piloted by Adopt-a-School, supports vulnerable children and families in select communities that are poverty-stricken, and plagued by high rates of unemployment, crime and violence. The Thari Programme addresses socio-economic challenges at home and in the school community that impact learning outcomes. These include issues of gangsterism, alcohol and substance abuse, teenage pregnancies, Gender-based Violence, and orphan and child-headed households.

Thari provides basic psycho-social support services to vulnerable children and their families through Youth and Child Care Workers; Safe Parks that ensure a secure and therapeutic space for children, specifically children lacking in after-school care;
and multisectoral local community forums to address wider social issues.

Thari’s goal is to strengthen the school community by creating a safe and empowering environment that is free from violence, academically effective, inclusive, gender sensitive and that promotes health and well-being for all.

Since 2019, over a thousand children have registered with the Thari programme in eight schools in Botshabelo in the Free State, and at a school in Diepsloot, Gauteng.

KST is a collaboration between Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation and Kagiso Trust. It leverages the strategic, technical and best practices of each organisation’s Whole School Development programme to address school infrastructure, curriculum support, social welfare and school leadership on a district-wide basis to produce systemic change. The partnership is rooted in the outlook that poor education outcomes and unemployment are among the most important national priorities for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.

KST was implemented on a match-funded basis with the Free State Department of Education at all schools in the Fezile Dabi district and at select schools in the Botshabelo and Thaba N’chu municipalities in the Motheo district. Both districts have some of the most vulnerable communities in the Free State.

The programme has contributed to both districts consistently attaining top positions in the province’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, and to the Free State achieving the best matric results in the country for consecutive years. The results of the Motheo district in particular are noteworthy. It previously ranked as one of the worst performing districts in the country, at between 58% and 63%. It has now outperformed some the country’s wealthiest provinces and districts at over 90%.

The KST District Whole School Development model is currently being rolled out in partnership with the Anglo-American School Advancement Programme at 110 additional schools in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Northern Cape.

CRET implements a holistic bursary support and youth development programme. Students with potential from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported for higher education study and vocational training, and also enabled with mentorship and psychosocial support; career guidance and work-readiness development, including driver training; work experience opportunities; and development as socially conscious and committed members of society. CRET aims to recruit candidates that are ordinarily overlooked by other programmes, which commonly seek out top achievers only.

To date CRET has supported 383 students for university study, 188 of whom have graduated. A further 370 young people have been supported for a variety of training programmes. CRET demonstrably intervenes in and reduces intergenerational poverty, changing the futures of young individuals, their families and communities.

Black Umbrellas implements an incubation programme that supports the growth and sustainability of small Black-owned businesses, driving job creation and social and economic empowerment.

Black Umbrellas’ facilitation of access to resources, training and mentorship promotes more equitable business development. It develops small businesses to a level where they can gain meaningful access to procurement, finance and networks. To date it has incubated close to 3 000 businesses, which collectively has generated R3.3 billion in turnover and created and sustained
over 12 000 jobs.

Ours is a vision of a society that lives and thrives, in fairness and equity, with compassion, and where all enjoy dignity, opportunity and belonging.