The Motsepe Foundation
Supports Mandela’s Centenary
South Africa is a resilient nation whose painful history gave birth to resistance movements founded on hope, and icons such as the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who believed in building a better society for all. Yet, two decades into democracy, poverty, inequality and unemployment remain major challenges that affect millions of people every day. It is a blessing then, that South Africa can count among its citizens changemakers who believe in giving back to the nation that shaped them.
The Motsepe family is an example of such changemakers and in 1999, they established a foundation with the aim of contributing towards the alleviation of poverty in their home country and around the world. Mr Patrice Motsepe and his wife Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe received invaluable support in progressing through their studies and then careers from family, teachers, mentors and others who wanted to see them succeed, so they decided to give back.
“We came from circumstances where our families worked very hard to put us through university. We received support from many people throughout our careers. Our goal in the beginning was to give back to our society by sponsoring students from disadvantaged families who wish to further their studies at universities in South Africa, and thus set them on a path to personal growth and better outcomes for their families and communities,” says Dr Moloi-Motsepe, the Motsepe Foundation’s Deputy Chairperson and CEO.
It started with the simple act of giving personal cheques to the students who wanted to attend university, but couldn’t afford it and this quickly grew into a fully-fledged non-profit organisation with education as its key focus among many other projects.
Today the Motsepe Foundation has 2 000 students in South African universities receiving full grants that cover all the costs of study, including tuition, accommodation, living expenses and books.
More than 200 students have completed their studies on grants from the Foundation. “Most of these students are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programmes and this is deliberate,” says Dr Moloi- Motsepe. “We firmly believe that the best hope for Africa is to develop quickly through technological advancement, so those are the fields we have decided to actively support.” The Foundation also supports secondary and primary schools with infrastructure upgrading and refurbishment projects, including libraries and laboratories.
The goal is to support learners to be in environments that expose them to learning maths and science from a young age, so that they are better equipped to pursue STEM fields at universities. Additionally, the Foundation supports social entrepreneurship through the sponsorship of an Executive Education Programme for African students at Harvard Kennedy School.