Timeline

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
Mike Savage Jakes Gerwel at Goree Talks Credit Van Zyl Slabbert Archives

Pre – 1993

In 1979, George Soros helped fund the education of approximately 80 black students in apartheid South Africa, at the then whites-only University of Cape Town. The Karl Popper Bursaries launched the philanthropy of George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). In the mid-80s, George Soros funded the peace talks..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Oct 25
1994 Nelson Mandela casts his vote - Photo Credit Electoral Commision of South Africa - South Africa Votes! Professionalising Elections 1997 - 2011 OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

1993/1994

The Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA) was founded in 1993 and its history is closely linked to the dismantling of apartheid. Fully operational by July 1993, the Foundation committed to promoting the values and practices of an open, democratic, and civil society and to working with the newly..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Dec 05
1995 - New Consitutional Court Judges and Speaker of Parliament - Frene Ginwala OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

1995

A year after the first democratic elections, several new institutions supporting democracy were established. The Constitutional Court of South Africa, a new apex court, had its first hearing in 1995. Later that year, it outlawed the death penalty in South Africa. In addition, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Apr 02
1996 - Constitution OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

1996

The South African Constitution was adopted after a confirmation process led by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. For the first time, the Constitution included a Bill of Rights for the country. The Preamble to the Constitution states: “We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Jun 23
1997 - TRC Zapiro OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

1997

In 1997, a new National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’iAfrika became official. The TRC continued its work, receiving at least 8 000 applications for political amnesty. President Nelson Mandela concluded his term as President of the ANC and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, replaced him. Dr Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert left the OSF-SA..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Mar 25
ARCHIBISHOP DESMOND TUTU HANDS OVER TRC REPORT TO PRESIDENT MANDELA.

1998

In July 1998, the TRC concluded its work after two years of intense and traumatic public hearings into the atrocities of the apartheid government. Archbishop Desmond Tutu chaired the TRC. The final TRC Report was delivered on 29 October 1998, one year before the second democratic elections. OSF-SA set aside..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
1999 George Soros in South Africa with Nelson Mandela OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

1999

In June, South Africa held its second democratic national elections and the ANC won with 65.7% of the national vote. Thabo Mbeki was sworn in as President, and Jacob Zuma as Deputy President. In May, the ANC signed a peace pact with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) following years of..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
TACMARCH 2000 - Credit Gideon Mendel

2000

In 2000, South Africa became the first developing country in the world to host the International AIDS conference. The Conference, which was held in Durban, was marked by protests against the South African Government and pharmaceutical companies. A march by hundreds of thousands of people on the eve of the..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
2001 - Civil Socity fights for TAC Case implementation - ZAPIRO OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2001

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a post-1994 social movement, won a landmark High Court and later Constitutional Court victory for access to medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS – this after years of campaigning and activism work. The TAC case represented a new era for public-interest litigation on socio-economic rights..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
2002 - All Shall be Equal - LGBTI Victory OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2002

In September, the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to adopt children and that laws that prevented them from doing so violated the Constitution. The South African Government established the Media Development and Diversity Agency with a mandate to fund and promote media diversity. In partnership with..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
2003 - 10 Years of Community Radio Support OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2003

A Decade Later – OSF-SA Turns 10! The ten-year celebration benefited from a special visit by George Soros and Aryeh Neier. OSF-SA celebrated 10 years of supporting Community Radio with a commemorative publication: Community Voices Over A Decade: OSF-SA and Community Radio. Reflecting on the work of the Foundation in South..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
2004 Elections Room - Photo Credit the IEC South Africa Votes FI

2004

South Africa’s third democratic elections were held in April 2004. The ANC won 67.7% of the national vote, and President Mbeki was elected by the ANC for a second term, with Jacob Zuma serving as his Deputy President. OSF-SA also began initiating new projects on crime prevention, skills development in..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 08
2005 OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2005

The Constitutional Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, seven years after a 1998 ruling that legal prohibitions on same-sex relations were unconstitutional. The 2005 ruling led to the passing of the Civil Unions Act in South Africa in 2006. After corruption and criminal cases..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2006-7 - Local Government Elections OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2006/2007

South Africa held its fourth local government elections. It was a politically volatile period in South Africa’s history. In December 2007, Jacob Zuma defeated President Thabo Mbeki to become the ANC President leading to President Mbeki’s recall a few months later. Owing to the changing political climate, the Board believed..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
Photo credit buzz feed Xenophobic-refugee

2008/2009

OSF-SA turns 15! In May 2008, a series of shameful attacks against mainly black Africans started in Alexandra, Johannesburg and spread to other areas in South Africa (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape). Over a period of three weeks, at least 62 people were killed and about 100 000 people were..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
Right2Know Protest - Photo Credit Katherine Robinson News24 User

2010/2011

OSF-SA focused its work on freedom of expression and oversight of state institutions. In May 2010, OSF-SA’s first Board Chairperson, Dr Van Zyl Slabbert passed away. In September 2010, the government announced the withdrawal of the 2009 special status permit granted to Zimbabweans who had fled the political violence in..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2012 Leon Sadiki - Mambush at Marikana OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2012

In 2012, Aryeh Neier, President of OSF stepped down and Chris Stone was appointed as President of OSF, ushering in a period of accelerated strategic and operational changes in the OSF network, both globally and at OSF-SA. In August 2012, police opened fire on striking workers at Lonmin plc in Marikana,..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2013 - Zapiro - Nelson Mandela passes away OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2013

Twenty Years of OSF-SA! The year 2013 saw a period of intense change at OSF and OSF-SA. A new President also meant that locally, new Board members, an Interim Director and a new Executive Director had been appointed to lead the Foundation by the end of 2013. A leadership, operational, and..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2014 - Constitutionalism Fund Launched OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2014

During 2014, OSF, together with Atlantic Philanthropies and the Ford Foundation, set up a special fund to advance constitutionalism in South Africa for a ten-year period. The Constitutionalism Fund was launched in 2015 with a Local Selection Panel. In May, the fifth national democratic elections took place – the first..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2015 - FeesMustFall Protests OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2015

In February 2015, opposition parties disrupted the President’s State of the Nation Address, and the State Security Agency used a signal jammer to prevent media from communicating during the address. In March, xenophobic attacks directed at refugees and migrants took place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Again, thousands of people were displaced..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2016 - International AIDS Conference OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2016

In 2016, OSF-SA supported 80 grantee organisations. The Global Board visited OSF-SA for the first time in several years. OSF-SA’s internal changes included consolidating grant-making programmes, with two programmes being formalised: Justice, Equality and Rights (JER) and Information, Expression and Accountability (IEA). South Africa’s fifth local government elections were held..Learn more

OSF-SA 25 Years
Nov 09
2017 - GuptaLeaks OSF-SA 25 years in South Africa

2017

2017 was a year marked by increasing and deafening allegations of state capture involving the then President. Former political prisoner, Rivonia trial accused and struggle icon, Ahmed Kathrada, passed away a few months after he had written an open letter to President Zuma urging him to step down from office.

Nov 21
OSF-SA 25 Years

2018

OSF-SA Celebrates 25 Years of Grant Making in South Africa.