Celebrating 25 years of South Africa’s democracy and investing in southern Africa’s future, Shared Interest hosts its 25th anniversary gala in NYC

May 07, 2019 at 08:20 am | Events

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

May 07, 2019 at 08:20 am | Events

Shared Interest hosts its 25th Anniversary Gala in New York City

Last week Shared Interest, a leading New York-based non-profit social investment fund, hosted a 25th Anniversary Gala event celebrating 25 years of South Africa’s democracy and Shared Interest’s own work investing in Southern Africa’s future at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

During the special Anniversary Gala event, Shared Interest honoured Dr. John Kani, South African Playwright and Actor with the Voices of Freedom Award, and former South African Public Protector and Advocate Thuli Madonsela with the Leadership for Justice Award. The Interfaith Center on
Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) was also honoured with the Investing in Transformation Award, alongside corporate honoree South African Airways (SAA), which was honoured with the Corporate Leadership Award.

Hosted by South African media personality and entrepreneur Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, the 25th Anniversary Gala feature a VIP and cocktail reception, followed by dinner and live entertainment provided by Malawian musician, Masauko.

Hollywood Actor Danny Glover and social activist and author Elinor Sisulu also participated in the program. Sponsors of the gala included Eton Vance,
Face2Face Africa, Fordham University, NYU, Pepsi, South African Airways, Trillium Asset Management, Walden Asset Management and Wells Fargo.

“Our 25th Anniversary Gala was an inspiring showcase and celebration of the first quarter century of South Africa’s democracy and Shared Interest’s work. The evening shone a spotlight on the historic partnership between the people of the United States and South Africa, and the continuing work that remains on both sides of the ocean to bridge the gap we share between inequality and inclusion, oppression and opportunity, powerlessness and potential,” said Donna Katzin, Executive Director of Shared Interest.

Over 300 U.S. and African activists, artists, civic and corporate leaders and development practitioners gathered alongside top diplomats and key US policymakers and influencers to commemorate the first 25 years of the “new” South Africa and recommit to the continuing development of the country.

Dignitaries and VIPs included South Africa’s Ambassador to the U.N., Jerry Matjila; Mozambique’s Ambassador to the U.S., Antonio Gumende; and former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry K. Thomas.

The evening also celebrated Shared Interest’s critical role in helping ”unbanked” smallholder farmers, emerging business owners and homeowners to access credit for the last 25 years.

“It was an honour to receive Shared Interest’s Voices of Freedom Award and a proud moment to be presented with this award from my life long friend and peer Danny Glover in New York City,” said Dr. John Kani, Actor and Playwright.

“The evening was a wonderful celebration of South African democracy and I was delighted to also share the stage with my friend and fellow honoree, the renowned Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela. This is an exciting time for my country and I am now even more motivated to
continue dedicating myself to leveraging South African theater and the creative industries as influential platforms for activism and social good, especially as we embark upon the next 25 years of our democracy.”

Dr. John Kani is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright who has led the movement to use South African theater as a platform to speak out against apartheid. He has appeared both in theater and on the big screen in productions including Blood Knot, Driving Miss Daisy, Othello, The Lion, and the Lamb, Sizwe is Dead and many more. Dr Kani has received numerous awards and accolades including a Tony Award for Best Actor, an OBIE Award for his contribution to theatre in the world, and a Leadership and Service Award from South African Breweries for his extraordinary contribution to Arts and Culture in South Africa.

The current Chairman of the Apartheid Museum, Dr. Kani had a pivotal role
in the 2019 Oscar Award-winning blockbuster movie Black Panther, and just finished the opening of his acclaimed new play, Kunene the King, at the National Shakespeare Company in London.

For seven years, Professor Thuli Madonsela served as South Africa’s renowned Public Protector, having helped draft the final constitution of South Africa promulgated by former President Nelson Mandela. Professor Madonsela also laid the foundations for today’s national campaign against
unscrupulous companies’ attempts to “capture” the South African state, and campaign within South Africa to call the nation to its highest standards of integrity and accountability in the service of justice.

A South African advocate and Professor of Law, she currently holds a chair in social justice at Stellenbosch University. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) received the Investing in Transformation
Award for its visionary leadership in galvanizing investors to press for a peaceful end to apartheid and advance human rights in South Africa.

In the process, it helped accelerate the abolition of apartheid and transition to democracy, while fueling the movement for socially responsible investment and building momentum for reinvestment in a democratic South Africa.

South African Airways (SAA) received the Corporate Leadership Award for its role as a beacon of corporate social responsibility while bringing people of the U.S. and South Africa together to enhance mutual understanding and collaboration to support philanthropic and investment initiatives.

To stay up to date with Shared Interest and the 25th Anniversary Gala, follow us on Instagram @SharedInterest, Twitter @sharedinterest_ and like our Facebook page.

Media Contact: Claudine Moore Tel: 646 489 6632 Email: Claudine@cmooremedia.com

Shared Interest is a nonprofit investment fund that was founded to enhance access to commercial credit for low-income black borrowers. Shared Interest provides collateral using loan guarantees to move local banks to lend to financially excluded communities to build capacity for smallholder farmers and emerging entrepreneurs.

To date, Shared Interest has placed $28 million of guarantees, unlocking $122million in loans benefiting 2.3 million people in Southern Africa, and has never lost a cent of any investor’s interest or principal. The organization is building on its successful model in Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, and are now preparing programs in Zambia. Visit www.sharedinterest.org for more information.

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