The Ithuba Trust is a dynamic, innovative human development initiative which seeks to empower disadvantaged groups and communities through the Republic of South Africa, by enhancing the quality of human life and by the alleviation of human suffering; through the power of opportunity, and via the creation of a multiplier effect.
Ithuba (a Zulu and Xhosa word meaning opportunity) was formed in 1989 as a Sustainable Development funding conduit, in order to allocate funds amongst disadvantaged groups and communities via grass-roots and community-based organizations. The objective was to render services in the fields of Health; Welfare; Education and Sustainable Development.
Ithuba was the brainchild of a creative and innovative thinker, namely Gareth Pyne-James, whose dream was to develop a fundraising mechanism that would capture both the imagination of the South African public and simultaneously raise substantial funds for people in need. Armed with this vision, Gareth managed to persuade First National Bank to provide a loan of R400,000 with which the Ithuba initiative was launched. Ithuba also managed to secure a rent-free office in Braamfontein and additionally negotiated with the computer and motor trade to donate equipment and vehicles to the Ithuba initiative.
The Ithuba fundraising strategy was based on the significant role that the media, particularly the electronic media, plays in general fundraising. The first part of the strategy was to secure air-time on SABC national television for the televised national telethon, in which the South Africa public was invited to call in with financial pledges.
Ithuba secured the support of a variety of high profile South Africans, mostly from the sporting and entertainment sectors, to participate (free of charge) in a variety of fundraising and promotional activities in various centers around the country. The full-day televised program, unparalleled in South Africa to this day, showed all events occurring country-wide, whilst simultaneously reporting on the progress of funds being pledged.
Additionally, Ithuba recognized the need to involve the corporate sector, which has remained a significant role-player in the development of the Ithuba initiative. In return for any corporate sponsorship (which was utilized to fund operations) companies such as Pick n Pay received substantial air-time during the televised telethon to expose their corporate profile. The value of such air-time was in excess of any corporate sponsorship. This arrangement proved to be a win-win scenario.