Funding a More Equal Future: Philanthropy and Social Justice in Africa

"There is no doubt that philanthropy plays an important role in society whether it involves humanitarian assistance, advocacy or grant making. However, I want to focus on an element that is often ignored in discussions about philanthropy in Africa – the intersection between philanthropy, economics and politics and how these impact on social justice. Increasingly, philanthropy is being thrust into debates about developmental governance and the resolution of social injustices. But few people seem to recognise that there has always been a clear relationship between social justice and the objectives of philanthropy or that philanthropy and social justice have always been intertwined. Our common understanding today is that a socially just society is one that prioritises human rights and pays attention to questions of the ownership of the means of production, property and decision-making among others. Such a society has to be based on principles of equity, fairness, solidarity, peace and dignity. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is generally and simply defined as the love for humanity."