OSF-SA is proud that the philanthropy of George Soros was born in South Africa. George Soros has invested in the academic careers of a generation of amazing, young scholars but importantly he also gave black students a small chance to dream by providing financial support for their education. Since then, the Open Society Foundations have issued more than 15 000 scholarships globally and support to over 80 Fellows around the world. The Open Society Foundations also opened its first African office in South Africa in 1993, which has operated for a quarter of a century, supporting hundreds of organisations and projects in that time, subsequently joined by sister Foundations in Southern, East, and West Africa.
OSF-SA, together with our Board and network partners, decided that the best way to pay tribute to the work of George Soros and to celebrate 25 years of grant making in South Africa – is to invest in the civil society sector that works tirelessly to defend the values of an open society – by issuing individual awards for young, black leaders in civil society. This also reflects our day-to-day grant making commitment to all forms of transformation and to promoting and enabling new and young diverse voices, who will contribute to protecting and enhancing South Africa’s young democracy over the next 25 years.
With the generous support of the entire Open Society Foundations network, and especially the President’s Office, the following Scholarship and Fellowship Awards have been made possible: