Redefining Philanthropy from an African Perspective with CAPSI

The Center for African Philanthropy and Social Investment – CAPSI on the 4th of February, 2021 put together their first webinar for the year, as a continuation in an ongoing series on the International Review of Philanthropy & Social Investment Journal. These webinars enable researchers and civil society across the continent to interact with featured authors on published topics in the Journal. Access the journal here.

Guest speakers in the webinar were contributing authors; Tendai Murisa, Executive Director at the Sivio Institute, who spoke on his paper in the journal Exploring the meanings of philanthropy in rural contexts: the case of Zimbabwe, and Gima H. Forje, Acting CEO of the TY Danjuma Foundation who also discussed his contribution to the journal in his paper, Giving with a purpose: ten years of touching lives by the TY Danjuma Foundation.

The one-hour event was moderated by Keratiloe Mogotsi – CAPSI Programme Manager, and explored themes within the respective papers, and the speakers’ experiences within African philanthropy.

The growing gap of inequality and horizontal philanthropy

Culling from his work with the TY Danjuma Foundation over time and especially during the pandemic, Gima noted the inequality within philanthropy that COVID-19 exposed. This was reflected not just in underrepresented communities such as internally displaced persons in Nigeria, but also in the systemic approach to grants, funding, and expectations by donors and beneficiaries alike.

While Tendai spoke, he pointed to the concept of peer-to-peer communal funding in philanthropy, which falls within the ideal of ‘ubuntu’, and is innate in African Philanthropy.  He conceptualized this as ‘horizontal philanthropy’, which is a major focus of his research in Zimbabwe’s philanthropy.

    “Your ideas are linked to others, you do not have to walk alone.”

                                                                                     –    Tendai Murisa

Redefining African Philanthropy

Over the course of the discussion, it was noted that the pickle international donors face coming to Africa, is bringing a foreign system on how to do things, causing them to miss already set in place systems. Donors must come into these existing models already operational in Africa, and value them rather than try to create new models.

Both speakers agreed that imbibing western models of philanthropy best solution for Africa, and we must look inwards to the way in which communities engage (horizontal philanthropy), and employ coping mechanisms. This necessitates a system where citizens take responsibility for their philanthropy and its outcomes. Notably, Africans must now tell their own stories using data and facts to change the narrative.

The webinar came to an end with Keratiloe noting that the Wits Business School offers studies in Masters and Ph.D. programs in Nonprofit management, and African Philanthropy. Find more information here.

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