Is S.Africa a nation of shy givers?


“South Africa actually ranks very well as givers. We’re a multicultural country and with the spirit of Ubuntu, that tends to encompass people’s giving, tight from very high people who can afford to give a lot to people who are unemployed,” Fiona Budd, client relations manager at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Southern Africa told CNBC Africa in an interview.

According to Budd, Giving comprises of the donation of money, time or goods. Research conducted in 2005 showed that 93 per cent of South Africans were givers while 97 per cent of people in the Gauteng province were givers.

However, while this information may be known locally, according to international standards, South Africa doesn’t rank very high as a nation of givers due to the lack of information.


Elyjoy Ikunyua, business development manager at CAF Southern Africa explained that the reason for this is that South Africans prefer to make donations in private.

“What we find in Southern Africa mostly is that people are very private about their giving. That’s why when you look at international research we don’t rank very high,” explained Ikunyua.

She added that the tradition of giving in the country, such as giving within the African community also known as ‘indigenous giving’, always remained very complex as individuals never broadcast this information publicly.

“When we look at the indigenous kind of giving and we go down to the grassroots, we find it’s very complex. People don’t want to broadcast it to everyone,” she said.

This mind set however may slowly be changing. Ikunyua stated that since billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe publicly announced that he would be donating half his fortune to charity, this may inspire others to come forward with public donation announcements.

“When you look at the likes of Patrice Motsepe, when he came out and said he would be giving a portion of his wealth to disadvantaged communities, we’re quite excited about that because then he serves as a role model for other high earners to come out,” she added.

“Then it helps us to actually quantify this kind of giving and put it in research.”

However, there will always be givers that prefer to remain private. Therefore CAF Southern Africa has created a pilot programme with the funding network to bring together high net worth individuals into a safe confidential arena where they wouldn’t feel pressured into giving out their personal details.

“As CAF Southern Africa we want to encourage such kinds of people to give and we try as much as possible to protect their privacy,” she said.

Budd added that the government should also play a role in encouraging donations by reforming the country’s taxation system to offer givers rebates.

“There’s definitely more that can be done on the taxation side, [the government should] give people rebates for giving,” she added.