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 with the exiled African National Council (ANC) and Afrikaner business community at Gorée Island through Dr Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, and supported via Human Rights Watch (HRW), the training of black journalists at the Weekly Mail (now Mail and Guardian), and through the Black Sash, supported advice offices to challenge the apartheid race-based ‘pass laws’.