Last year, during a philanthropy forum, Theophilus Danjuma, a retired General and a Nigerian oil baron, gave away $100 million of his own funds to his personal charity, the TY Danjuma foundation. The endowment is one of the largest in Nigerian philanthropic history. The TY Danjuma foundation makes grants in education, healthcare and the arts, and runs its operations from the Nigerian city of Abuja. Danjuma is arguably Nigeria’s biggest current giver.
But Africa’s most philanthropic are from South Africa, as noted by the 2010 Barclays Culture of Philanthropy report. According to the report, South Africans are the 2nd most generous people in the world, after Americans.
In 2010, Francois van Niekerk, a South African businessman, gave away 70% equity in his company, the Mertech Group, to the Mergon foundation, a private charity he co-founded with his wife. According to Niekerk, the stake is valued at $170 million. Last year, Jay Naidoo, a hugely successful South African businessman and co-founder of investment holding company J & J Group, reportedly sold off a third of his stake in the company and donated the proceeds to two unnamed charitable trusts.
The likes of Mark Shuttleworth, Cyril Ramaphosa, Allan Gray and Tokyo Sexwale and others are at the vanguard of an ever-growing philanthropy movement in Africa. I honed in on individual philanthropy and not that of large, extended families. Representatives for all of the following people except TY Danjuma confirmed the accuracy of the donation amounts; Danjuma’s office did not return a call but the amount of his donation was widely reported.