President Cyril Ramaphosa


The last year has been significant year in a number of respects. In 2019, we marked a quarter of a century of freedom and democracy. Much has been achieved in the transformation of our society over the past 25 years.


Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation celebrated its 15th anniversary, testifying to a sustained commitment to improving the lives of our beneficiaries. Black Umbrellas, a partner entity of the Foundation, celebrated its 10th anniversary.


The year provided the Foundation with the timely opportunity to reflect on the long road it has travelled in making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, women and men.


When we established the Adopt-a-School Foundation in 2002, its work focused on improving school infrastructure. We soon recognised that infrastructure alone would not result in quality education. It dawned on us that what was also needed was the development of effective leadership and management systems, of educator skills, curriculum structures, and improved learner well-being and safety. This holistic approach led to the Whole School Development model.


Adopt-a-School is evolving the model further with the piloting of the Thari programme, which addresses the impact that violence and vulnerability have

on children and their learning outcomes.


KST, the Foundation’s partnership with Kagiso Trust and the First Rand Empowerment Foundation, has taken the Whole School Development model forward at a district level. It is driving institutional and systemic change through a district-based approach in the Free State with the support of the Free State Department of Education. KST shows that impactful partnership is possible between government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.


The Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET) has its origins in the mid-1990s, in the support we gave to students to study from money earned from public speaking engagements.

 Today CRET offers holistic support to students, including comprehensive bursaries, mentorship, work experience and driver training programmes that link higher education access with job prospects.




While education is essential for improving lives, creating economic opportunities is a broader undertaking. The Foundation’s other focus area is on the development of small business. Its objective has been to drive economic transformation that is inclusive.


In 2019, Black Umbrellas opened its its first township-based incubator, in Soweto. This was a milestone achievement.


The work and impact of Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation attests to the value of partnership. The achievements of the Foundation would not have been possible without the committed support of the Foundation’s donor partners, stakeholders and associates. Many go the extra mile and even serve as mentors to the student and entrepreneur beneficiaries of the Foundation. I cannot thank you enough for your committed support.


We are now called upon to enhance this partnership.


Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation’s purpose is to foster an inclusive and empowered society, where all citizens are able to enjoy the benefit of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Its overriding objective has been to contribute to reducing the great inequalities that persist in our society. These inequalities continue to be passed down from generation to generation, sustaining a cycle of poverty. These inequalities have been starkly exposed and worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Poor and marginalised members of our society have been the worst affected by the pandemic. This has a consequence for the whole of society and has demonstrated how interconnected we all are. We therefore share in an inescapable obligation to change these conditions in our country.


Before the pandemic, efforts were being made to address poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment and a weak economy. South Africa’s progress will now be set back many years, and its recovery will take a great deal of effort and resources. This is a time to sustain, rather than reduce, levels of corporate social investment. Education, youth development, small business development and job creation are high priorities for economic growth and recovery.


The Covid-19 pandemic offers society an opportunity to redouble its efforts to overcome challenges of inequality and to build an inclusive society.


We are called on to invest in a new consciousness and shared effort for a new society. We need to strengthen our cooperation, collaboration and mutual support as government, businesses, labour, civil society organisations and NGOs. We need to build on the will, unity of purpose, generosity of spirit and collective action that we have demonstrated in response to the virus to overcome our socio-economic challenges. We will have to deepen our collaboration as never before in driving the national recovery effort.


Let us reaffirm our resolve to fundamentally change our society, and to emerge as a better and more equal country. Let us continue to support the work of the Foundation and the contribution it makes to an inclusive and empowered society.