The history of South Africa is replete with various forms of philanthropic expressions. Both anecdotal and scientific evidence have documented the societal sense of belonging as a unique driving force for giving behavior in South Africa. This has been expressed in various forms including through in-kind and monetary giving. In South Africa, the spirit of philanthropy is closely linked to the values and practices of ‘Ubuntu’ which ties people together to the larger community and environment through their authenticity and humanity.
This study seeks to explore emerging giving trends in South Africa, with keen attention to the developments of new ways of giving during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Black Tax” (giving to family members), crowdfunding, mobile giving, pay-as-you-earn (payroll giving), retail giving, and virtual volunteering shapes the philanthropic landscape of South Africa. Therefore, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a few observations mirroring the established patterns became bold. For instance, a 19th century system of resource mobilization known as “stokvel” is plausibly similar to the crowdfunding system which has flourished due to advancements in technology and internet connectivity. The other vectors of giving were also crucial for resource mobilization to charity organizations during the height of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report shares insights learned from a roundtable discussion comprising of four stakeholders of the philanthropic sector in South Africa. Further insights were drawn from an interview with a representative of a South African company known for their heavy commitment towards corporate social responsibility (CSR).