This year marked an important milestone for our long-time community development partner, Africa Foundation. Humbly founded under a tree back in 1992, Africa Foundation now proudly celebrates its 25-year anniversary, which means that we have been working hand in hand for communities and conservation for a quarter of a century (&Beyond also turned 25 last year). To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Foundation recently launched its inaugural Africa Foundation Robin James Award.
This prestigious award honours the late Robin James, one of Africa Foundation’s original trustees and the chair of Africa Foundation (UK), who sadly passed away last year. To pay homage to one of its well-respected forefathers, Africa Foundation created this award in Robin’s honour, as a way of recognising those selfless people, like Robin, who have committed their lives to help and empowering others.
Most happy and at peace in the African bushveld, Robin’s love of Africa’s wild places and its people led him on a fulfilling philanthropic journey. His early childhood interest in wildlife developed into a lifelong dedication to conservation and the upliftment of rural African communities and it was Robin who provided the initial seed funding and vision for Africa Foundation 25 years ago.
Throughout his life, Robin remained an active and unwavering ambassador for Africa Foundation and, without a doubt, his influence, inspiration and sheer dedication have been invaluable to the success and continued growth of Africa Foundation.
We hereby salute Robin James and the 25 years he gave to Africa Foundation and the communities neighbouring our reserves. Robin’s light shines on through these awards and may they always remind us of his contagious passion, tireless support and generous heart. It was a true honour to have known and worked so closely with the legendary Robin James and this award is a fitting tribute.
More than 100 heartfelt nominations came pouring in for people who have been inspired by Robin’s legacy and who have demonstrated a similar and sustained commitment to helping, inspiring and uplifting others. It is those quiet, yet steady, and all too often thankless acts day in and day out that drive invaluable and positive change in our communities.
An impressive list of 50 hard-working and well-deserving candidates was officially put forth and the judges then had the painstaking task of selecting just 11 finalists whom they believe embody the true spirit of the award.
Here are the 11 incredibly inspiring finalists (in alphabetical order). Click here to read each of their truly uplifting and commendable motivations.
Faced with 11 different stories of equally inspiring altruism, hard work and perseverance, the judges had the unenviable task of selecting just one overall winner. It certainly wasn’t easy, but they deliberated, debated and eventually came to an agreement. The first person ever to receive the esteemed Africa Foundation Robin James Award, which embodies one of our core values of Care of the People, is Mrs Nomusa Zikhali. Read Mama Zikhali’s inspirational story.