He has been involved in the design, set up and execution of the South Africa Future Trust (Covid 19 SMME support), ongoing South African conservation research (Tswalu Foundation) and medical research (Glioblastoma research). Further to these personal interests, Samuel is also actively involved in wider philanthropy of Nicky Oppenheimer’s family.
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Professor Loyiso Nongxa retired as Professor of Mathematics at the University of theWitwatersrand in December 2018 having spent 18 years at the university as a member of the Senior Executive Team – as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research (2000 to 2002), Vice-Chancellor and Principal (2003 to 2013) and Founding Director of the Centre for Mathematical and Computational Sciences (2014 to 2018). A NRF-rated mathematician, his special research interests lie in Abelian Group Theory, representations of partially ordered sets and the foundations of Data Science. Over the past few years, he has been instrumental in the efforts to establish a National Graduate Academy for Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, a consortium of local universities focusing on the development of the next generation of mathematicians and statisticians in South Africa.
He is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and one of two Vice-Presidents of the International Mathematical Union (IMU, 2019 to 2022). Professor Nongxa served as the Chairperson of the National Research Foundation from 2014 to 2018 and in April 2019 was appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training as Administrator of the University of Fort Hare.
Professor Nongxa was born in rural South Africa, attending Healdtown High School and the University of Fort Hare where he completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Statistics and a MSc in Mathematics. He was the first South African of African ancestry to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and went up to Balliol College, Oxford in 1978 where he obtained a doctorate in Mathematics in 1982. Prior to joining the University of the Witwatersrand, he taught at the National University of Lesotho, the former University of Natal and the University of the Western Cape.
A former high school science teacher, Professor Jonathan Jansen was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS) in 2009 and served in this role until mid-2017 when he took-up a Professorship at the University of Stellenbosch. Educated at the University of the Western Cape, UNISA and Cornell, he obtained a PhD at Stanford in 1991 and holds Honorary Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Cleveland State University. Prior to taking-up the post of V-C of UFS, he served as Professor of Education at the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Pretoria.
Jonathan is a well-known public speaker and a prolific writer. His most recent books include Letters to my Children (2012), Great South African Teachers (2011), We Need to Talk (2011) and Knowledge in the Blood (2009). Knowledge received best book awards from the Library Journal USA and the American Educational Research Association. Professor Jansen recently received Education Africa’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of “his work towards the transformation of education in South Africa”.
He is a Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, die Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and of the American Educational Research Association. In addition, Professor Jansen serves as patron of a number of local NGOs and on the boards of the Toyota Foundation and AdvTech Group.
Jonathan Oppenheimer is a South African businessman and philanthropist. He began his career at NM Rothschild & Sons, before moving to Anglo American and subsequently De Beers, where he held a number of senior management roles over two decades.
In 2004 Jonathan was instrumental in the formation of the Brenthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based think-tank which examines ways to drive Africa’s sustainable growth. Today, the Foundation is at the frontier of new ideas and innovative actions for strengthening Africa’s economic performance, and as a member of their International Advisory Board, Jonathan plays a key role in its continued success.
As Executive Chairman of Oppenheimer Generations, Jonathan is actively involved in all other aspects of his family’s private, commercial and thought leadership activities, including:
- Oppenheimer Partners, a global investment group with a focus on building a long-term portfolio of businesses by deploying permanent capital, building on the Oppenheimer family’s legacy and commitment towards making a meaningful and positive impact on society.
- Through Tswalu Kalahari, Fireblade Aviation, and a joint venture with South African Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik – providing world-class services to clients and strengthening South Africa’s image globally.
- The Oppenheimer Generations Foundation, a philanthropic initiative focused on generating positive impact by unlocking catalytic grants in underfunded areas.
- In 2021, Oppenheimer Generations established an Asia family office in Singapore, creating a platform to catalyse investments between Africa and South East Asia.
Since 2018, Jonathan has sat on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States, committed to advancing the cause of peace through its global network of policy research centres.Jonathan has also supported a number of initiatives in his late wife Jennifer Oppenheimer’s memory, including the Jennifer Oppenheimer Cancer Research Initiative and the JWO Research grant.
Most recently, alongside his father Nicky Oppenheimer, Jonathan founded the South African Future Trust. A scheme launched following the outbreak of Covid-19, to which the Oppenheimer family donated R1 billion. By providing interest-free loans, SAFT has been able to directly support more than 84,000 workers at over 8,500 SMMEs and hopes to create a more resilient and sustainable South African economy in the years to come.
Jonathan is first and foremost a family man, who is passionate about African development and leaving a legacy for the next generation to be proud of.
Born in Durban, South Africa, Thero Setiloane was educated in Switzerland and the United Kingdom, where he read for a BSc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Warwick.
Prior to joining Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) as Chief Executive Officer in 2011, he was the Executive Vice President of Business Sustainability at AngloGold Ashanti, responsible for corporate affairs, global marketing, public policy, government relations, global security, corporate social investments, environmental and community affairs, as well as health and safety.
Thero has also held leadership positions in the telecommunications, agricultural and private equity sectors and is a graduate of the management trainee programme at Anglo American.
He is on the board of a number of companies, and previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Gold Council and as an executive director of Real Africa Holdings.
Granddaughter of Harry and Bridget Oppenheimer and daughter of Mary Slack, Rebecca is a graduate of Princeton University and went on to complete a one-year classical acting programme at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. She then pursued a career on stage in South Africa and co-presented a local TV show ‘Between the Lines’ in the 1990s.
Following a fifteen year stay in America, Rebecca and her two children now live in South Africa. She is fervently committed to the role of education as a key to upliftment and in 2005 was the founding donor of the African Leadership Academy. Rebecca remains as one of the African Leadership Group’s greatest supporters.
Through a blend of philanthropy and early-stage investment, Rebecca remains focused on finding unique solutions to the diverse challenges of South Africa, and the wider African continent. She is actively involved in enterprises across sanitation, healthcare, credit access, financial inclusion, and food technology. Rebecca seeks to aid those below the poverty line through sustainable and transformational interventions addressing wider definitions of multidimensional poverty.
Elizabeth Donaldson is former journalist and editor and one of the founders of Soweto TV. She studied at Università per Stranieri in Italy and at the University of the Witwatersrand where she graduated with a Master of Arts degree in languages. She is committed to and has experience in the process of transformation, diversity and inclusion in media, the public and private sector as well as education.
Elizabeth has been a trustee of the Donaldson Trust since 1998. She established and continues to fund-raise and manage The Mentorship Programme, an initiative that provides homes, education and life-skills to children in need. She set up the Clothes Library at the DOCC in Soweto that provides formal clothing for occasions. Elizabeth also formed the Green Team project which offers homeless and unemployed people work in parks and public spaces.
In May 2008, South Africa was torn apart by a wave of violent attacks on foreigners. Elizabeth launched Operation Siza which funded, sourced, and delivered blankets, nappies, infant formula milk, non-perishable items and clothes to refugee camps in Gauteng. She addressed the government on xenophobia at the National Conference for Media Reform in that year.
In 2010, Elizabeth was a senior consultant at Meropa Communications and head of CSI. In the lead up to the FIFA World Cup, she worked with Mr. Tom Mayisa of the Department of Social Development, to form The Rainbow All Stars, a soccer team for the homeless that competed at the Homeless Soccer World Cup in Mozambique. She continues to work with Mayisa today.
During the Covid 19 Lockdown Elizabeth initiated the immediate identification of a school that needed support through the crisis. OASIS near Ficksburg in the Free State was selected with the guidance of fellow trustee Mr Elias Potloane.
Elizabeth works as an English and History teacher and a facilitator at Cohesion Collective, a specialised Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultancy that provides research and training for corporates, educational institutions and other organisations.
Nomhle Canca joined the Oppenheimer Memorial trust as a Trustee in 2019. She chairs the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative as well as Three Diamond Resources and the CEO of the Luthuli Foundation and has been the Chairperson and Director of Gallagher Power Fence SA Pty Ltd since May 2017 where she brings her strong leadership qualities.
Nomhle has a track record of working on investment transactions, especially opportunities designed to empower previously disenfranchised communities. Nomhle is a founding member of Women’s Development Banking (WDB) and WIPHOLD, which was sold to Old Mutual in 2003. She is on the board of public transport company PUTCO Holdings and construction company Stefanutti Stocks.
Her previous directorships also included the SA Land Bank, Sentech, SA National Parks, AVI Ltd. Pareto –Property Company and Prime Media Holdings. She served as Special Advisor to former Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe Cassaburri from 2003-2005.
Dr Devi Rajab was educated in South Africa and in the USA as a Fulbright Scholar, obtaining a Master’s in Educational Psychology at the University of Kansas and a PhD in Social Psychology from Missouri. Scholarships from the IIE and the British Council enabled her to pursue her special interests in the areas of ‘guilt, shame and early childhood education’ at Harvard and ‘career development’ at Oxford. She is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a Counselling Psychologist.
Dr Rajab lectured in Social Psychology at the University of Durban-Westville prior to joining the staff of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1989 and she served as UKZN’s Dean of Student Development from 1992 to 2005. An award-winning journalist (four-time recipient of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award as well as the Turquoise Harmony Institute Media Award for Outstanding Journalism in 2010), she pens a weekly column ‘Devi’s Diary’ for the Mercury and is a regular contributor to Confluence, a London-based newspaper. Devi is also the author of ‘No Subject is Taboo’ and ‘Women: South Africans of Indian Origin’.
Devi currently serves as an independent consultant to the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa and holds positions on the boards of several community-based and educational organisations, including the Democracy Development Project, KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amazwi Abesifazana Museum.