As we wrap up The Great Funders’ Conference 2019, congratulatory emails are pouring in, spurring us on to repeat the exercise in other cities. While it is tempting to take the credit for a job well done, that would be an injustice to the people who gave so generously of their time and energy to make this conference a success.
Indeed, it would be an injustice to the vision we have for our industry, which is of revitalised, invigorated and passionate group of people working across sectors to empower NGOs to become a force to be reckoned with. We’re already there, in some cases – but there is more to be done.
Many people deserve our ululations
- Samson Nkosi, Development Manager for Tshwane University of Technology and former CSI Manager for both ABSA and Liberty – thank you.
And thank you, too, to these sterling contributors:
- Sarah Hugow – from The National Lotteries Commission – you trusted us and took that massive leap of faith – thank you
- Charlene Lackay of Momentum Metropolitan Group
- Rev Les Sanabria from Operation Compassion, South Africa
- Fikile Kuhlase of United Nations Refugee Agency
- Dr Robyn Whittaker of Symphonia for South Africa
- … and our very own editor, Jane Mqamelo, of CSRNEWSSA.
All these people played a critical role behind the scenes, sharing ideas and giving valued advice in the midst of busy schedules. I am sure when some saw my name pop up on their screens they inwardly groaned, knowing what was to come – a long conversation!
Some would open with: ‘Hi Simphiwe – I’d love to chat but am really busy now – can we talk later?’
And I’d say, ‘Just a quick one – what do you think of …?’
… and before you knew it, forty minutes or an hour had passed, and they were begging to be set free J. Those conversations meant a lot to me – ideas are sparked when willing hearts and enthusiasm are combined, and the above people all had that in abundance.
You were amazing
As CSRNEWSSA we hold conversations, large and small, to stimulate the world of development and expand the role of the private sector in empowering our valued NGOs. I’d like to thank the following for the contributions they made:
- Mr Michael Sun, MMC for Community Safety. Our industry thanks you for gracing us with your presence.
- Gill Bates, an industry stalwart and a person I consider a true ‘captain of industry’ in CSI. At the drop of a hat she was able to take on more than anticipated – thank you, Gill.
- Ms Mampane, the Commissioner of the National Lotteries Commission – we were humbled by your presence and thank you for giving so generously of your time and energy.
- Amandla Sithole, also of National Lotteries, who selflessly ran around with us before the conference and took calls late into the night.
- Sanele Dlamini, also of National Lotteries – thank you, sir. We loved the before and after pics and, from Twitter, we see the school’s unveiling went well! Congratulations and thank you for staying the full length of the conference.
And how can I omit these valued participants?
- Stuart Bartlett of the Industrial Development Corporation, who attended the conference at short notice to add value in a space that suddenly opened.
- Dr Shungu Gwarinda, Chief Executive Officer of the Graca Machel Trust – thank you. Many wanted to add their appreciation for the contribution you made.
- Dianne Richards from Old Mutual – I heard you loud and clear! -Thank you.
- Ms Linda Pangwa – thank you, and we hope your trip to the Eastern Cape went well the following day.
- Maureen (Mo) of The American Embassy – thank you.
- Shalane Yuen – thank you.
- Nomvula Makgotlo – The lady from African Union – thank you.
- Dante Mashile – The Masters – thank you.
- Mari Booysen – The international – thank you.
- Sizwe Mpofu Walsh – thank you, and look forward to working with you.
- Tebogo Molefe – thank you.
- Luana Malan – thank you.
- Mr Setlogane Manchidi (now known as our industry preacher) – thank you!
- Susan Daly of Kidshaven – thank you.
- Brenda Nkosi – thank you.
- Sobolelo Matsoso – thank you.
- Luvuyo Madasa – thank you.
- To the National Lotteries Commission Board – COO – Mr Phillemon Letwaba and Mr Mothibi Ramusi – Chief Information Officer – thank you.
- Craig our MC and Jam Ambassador – thank you so much.
The last-minute catastrophes
Few of you
will know that the day before the event, our sound company decided to tighten
the strings on our contract, at which we decided to request a refund and part
ways. Audio and AV were to be set up
that day, and we had no one! We cast our
net wide, and in stepped two amazing young men, excellent ambassadors of
African creativity and zest; Thokozane. He rose to the occasion, figuring out
equipment he had never worked with and getting it all off the ground in good
time. Thank you, chap – you were great.
One of the great spin-offs from a get together of this kind is the wonderful connections made and partnerships formed. We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be partnering with two organisations:
- Phakamani Young Minds Academy, to whom we’ll be providing internet access in return for social media services; and
- Young Brian and Thokozane, mentioned above, who will be instrumental in launching a new CSRNEWSSA Audio Visual division. The division will work with us in serving industry programmes and events for a period of 12 to 24 months. The goal is that after this period, Brian and Thokozane will be sufficiently established to run an independent business proving audio services at a great price.
How could I neglect my own team? To Mbalenhle Mdluli, Tebogo Losaba, Bryson Mansoor, Masechaba, Caroline (with all your nuances) and the volunteers – to say ‘thank you, you were amazing’ is an understatement. I appreciate you guys and encourage you to keep up the positive attitude, which opens so many doors.
To all the delegates who attended: You made the programme what it was. If you had not pitched, we would have been all the poorer. Thank you for sharing of yourself.
Oprah Winfrey said, ‘Begin with the goal in mind.’ And this is mine: that in 10 years’ time the communication between funders and NGOs will be healthy, streamlined and productive, that the lack of funding for crucial programmes will be a thing of the past, and that the industry as a whole will be significantly contributing to South Africa’s GDP.
May God bless us all and guide us in this journey to enrich and improve a critical sector in the development of our nation.
A full conference report is en route.