Posted on July 17, 2009 · Posted in SF Fellow

On Tuesday this week, Karien Bezuidenhout and myself had the pleasure of meeting Mpho Letlape, Managing Director of the SASOL Inzalo Foundation.

The Inzalo Foundation is part of the R25.9B black economic empowerment (BEE) transaction approved by the shareholders. I found one SASOL media presentation explaining the scope of the transaction which has four major parts, one of which is the Inzalo Foundation. The Inzalo Foundation is funded by the dividends from a 1.5% share of SASOL (valued at R3.9B at the time of the media presentation).

Mpho is spending her first few months understanding the lay of the land, getting to know the full spectrum of players in the educational space and identifying possible projects and partnerships. The plan (and website) for the Inzalo Foundation will only emerge around October this year but I’m feeling very positive about it. She comes across as pragmatic and direct but with an innovative edge. Many of the discussion points that were raised during the meeting really resonated:

  • importance of foundation phase,
  • partnerships,
  • vocational training,
  • sustainability, and
  • scalability.

I think the Inzalo Foundation has a superb opportunity to bring some fresh cohesion and coordination to the space and to build on many learnings from successful and unsuccessful projects. There have been so many independent projects and so many unshared learnings that a new player has an opportunity to gain fresh insight if they’re able to talk to everyone without any preconceived ideas as well as better identify the overlaps and cohesion.

About the Author

Mark Horner is the CEO of Siyavula Education, a social enterprise working in the school sector in South Africa. While working as the Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow for Open and Collaborative Resources, Mark was able to transform the Free High School Science Texts (FHSST) project, which he co-founded, into Siyavula Education. In this process, openly-licensed, collaboratively authored textbooks have been printed and distributed nationally in South Africa. Working at the intersection of community, openness and technology; Mark intends to leverage this success to make Siyavula an innovative, technology provider in education that works effectively as part of the education community to ensure better learning opportunities for all. A recent notable event being the delivery of Siyavula's textbooks over Mxit, the most popular mobile chat solution in South Africa. Mark has a PhD in physics from the University of Cape Town and conducted his research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California on the results from the STAR experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. His work is carried out in the belief that the liberation of information and support of education in South Africa will lead to a peaceful and prosperous future for all South Africans.