iKusasa Trust: Investing in Our Future

High Performance ArchitectureThe iKusasa Trust, initiated by Synergy Global Consulting and Activate Architecture in 2009, imagines the potential for a better future for people and planet. The trust offers opportunities to young black South African women who have the potential to shape this vision.

The primary objective is focused on the skills development of promising young black South African woman who have the potential to become influential leaders and, in particular, have the potential to contribute to sustainable urban and rural development.

“The iKusasa vision is to provide a platform that enables the development of young black females who come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” says Siza Majola, Chairperson of iKusasa. “We do this through funding, work exposure and mentorship support, currently in the built environment and social development sectors. For young women to apply for this funding, they should therefore be studying and demonstrating passion in these fields.”

The support offered includes allocation of funds towards tertiary education and mentorship for beneficiaries, to ensure that beneficiaries can achieve their full potential with the necessary knowledge, skills and support networks necessary to thrive in the business context.

Paul Kapelus, Director at Synergy Global Consulting, explains, “iKusasa takes a hands-on approach beyond just offering financial support. It is firmly tied into our core businesses in terms of skills development. We have taken a deliberate approach to integrate the skills around social development and the built environment professions, to close the gap between social impact work and the design of cities. We believe that these skills can complement each other collaboratively to make infrastructure, buildings and organisations work for people in a far more sustainable way. So far, we have attracted people who possess skills in sociology, anthropology, geography and architecture.”

Majola adds, “I believe that black females have the ability to bring innovation and creativity to the sustainability sector. Black women, in particular those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, would have had to make do with few resources for most of their lives, which forces them to think out of the box about how to optimise resources they work with. This in turn breeds creativity and innovation. Skills that are crucial in business, like leadership, attention to detail, precision and the ability to work within teams, need to be cultivated while the students are still studying, which is why the Trust is committed to facilitating study opportunities at reputable institutions of higher learning.”

The iKusasa Trust is fuelled by a collaborative of likeminded partner companies who share the view that we urgently need to find and support these new leaders to remodel the priorities of our companies and our cities, and to provide platforms that empower black South African woman to lead.

Michael Magner, co-founding director of Activate, comments, “We view iKusasa as an incubator for future talent for our companies. Shares in Activate and Synergy were sold to iKusasa on very lenient loan terms in order to give the Trust a solid base on which to grow into the future. We give time as well as money by mentoring the beneficiaries and linking them to internships in our offices. The idea is that iKusasa will eventually participate in several businesses, allowing a cross pollination between the beneficiaries of different disciplines to bridge the gaps between professions.”

To date there have been five beneficiaries who have received funds from partner companies for tertiary study programmes at the University of the Witwatersrand and University of Johannesburg.

About the iKusasa Trust Originally registered in 2009, the iKusasa Trust was amended in 2015 to align with the Amended DTI Generic B-BBEE Codes currently in force.

There are six trustees on the Board of Trustees, the composition of which complies with the demographic requirements of the DTI B-BBEE Amended Codes:

  • Siza Majola (Chairperson, Human Resources)
  • Nkosie Ndlovu (Director of Synergy Global, Corporate Social Responsibility)
  • Buhle Mathole (Architect and Principle of Kabu Design Architects)
  • Nirvana Pillay (Consultant in Capacity Development, Welfare and Education)
  • Paul Kapelus (Director of Synergy Global, Corporate Social Responsibility)
  • Michael Magner (CCO of Activate Architecture)

iKusasa is set up to own minority shares in companies in compliance with B-BBEE codes on ownership by trusts. This ownership contributes significantly to the level of B-BBEE that partner companies can attain in the ownership scorecard.

Siza MajolaiKusasa accepts funding from individuals and companies and allocates these funds to beneficiaries, in compliance with B-BBEE codes on Skills Development criteria for allocation of scholarships and grants.

iKusasa is encouraging any potential partners to contact us to explore how best the sustainability sector could continue offering opportunities to upcoming talent.

For those who may be interested in partnering, please email Siza Majola. (pictured left)

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