News and Events

Robin James Award

AFRICA FOUNDATION ROBIN JAMES AWARD

To mark the 25th year of Africa Foundation, we have launched the Africa Foundation Robin James Award.

About the Award

The award in the name of Robin James, honours one of Africa Foundations trustees, and chair of Africa Foundation (UK), who passed away in 2016.

Robin James’ childhood interest in wildlife grew into an adult passion for conservation and the upliftment of rural communities. At Africa Foundation the legacy of Robin James began in 1992, when he provided the initial funding and vision for the organisation’s work. Thereafter Robin remained an active ambassador for Africa Foundation; his influence and inspiration, invaluable to the organisation’s continued growth. His daily dedication was unwavering and his years of service to the cause is unparalleled by any other.

The Africa Foundation Robin James Award aims to recognise people who show the same commitment to empowering people through access to education, health, economic opportunities and conservation. The award celebrates those who embody the same foresight, wisdom and sustained commitment that enabled Robin James to have an extraordinary impact on the lives of others.

More about Robin James

Robin James was born in 1945, and  spent his childhood growing up in Natal.  His  father, Ted James, was a Director of the Natal Parks Board, and through this involvement Robin developed his love for the outdoors and his fascination with birds. After finishing school at Michaelhouse, Robin spent a year in the Navy before attending the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, followed by a long and successful career in financial services in South Africa,  London and latterly the Isle of Man. Robin died suddenly on 17 May 2016.

The African bush was Robin’s sanctuary from the world, and it would be here where you would find him most relaxed and at peace. Robin photographed every aspect of bush life, and this love of the African bush set him on a philanthropic path 25 years ago.

In 1992,  he was a part of the visionary team of investors with Mark and Tara Getty that founded Africa Foundation after the creation of the Phinda Private Game Reserve.   Back then, Robin had provided the organisation’s initial seed funding and he remained instrumental in charting its course to present day, as a Trustee of the Africa Foundation in South Africa and Chairman of the Africa Foundation UK.

Below are just a few examples of the wonderful photographs Robin took:

Robin James Bee EaterRobin James Wildebeest
 
Robin James LeopardRobin James Yellow Bird

Selection Criteria for the Award

It is in Robin James’ name that Africa Foundation has chosen to recognise people who:

  1. Have had a significant and sustained positive impact on communities in which Africa Foundation is active.
  2. Have demonstrated the key aspects of the Africa Foundation methodology to empower communities by: doing things with people and; always building on the capacity and local wisdom of the community, to ensure sustainable solutions.
  3. Embody the key qualities of Robin James – humble; wise; persistent; positive; gentle; measured, with a long term outlook.

The Judges

The judging panel have been selected for their experience of Africa Foundation in action, their knowledge of the communities in which Africa Foundation is active, their valued professional insights and varied perspectives from regional and international positions

For more information about the judges click here.

The Award

  1. A sculpture, especially created by famous South African sculptor Dylan Lewis
  2. A cash prize
  3. A cash prize to be donated to an Africa Foundation community project of the winner’s choice.

Meet the 2017 Award Winner:

Mrs. Nomusa Haslot Zikhali, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Africa Foundation Robin James Award winner

Mrs. Zikhali first became known to Africa Foundation when she applied for support in 1999. For 2 years she had been running a school, teaching 60 children under the shade of trees in Mnqobokazi. Her commitment to and love of children, combined with sustained determination and strong leadership, led to Nkomo School today being a full service primary school for over 1000 pupils, of which she is the principal.

Her community focus meant that she was also integral to the development of Khulani Special School in Mduku. Mrs Zikhali raised funds for its construction and played a key role in the consultative processes with community and the Department of Education. Her involvement has ensured the long term success of the school which serves 300 pupils living with disabilities.

Mrs Zikhali went on to secure funding to build a centre for orphaned and vulnerable children, based at Nkomo School, which provides after-school care for children attending Nkomo and other neighbouring schools.

Recognising the importance of conservation and the role of education in protecting the environment and wildlife, Mrs Zikhali is a leader in the Eco School programme, and Nkomo serves as a training school in the area.

As an ambassador for the Africa Foundation methodology for community empowerment and sustainable change, Mrs Zikhali mentors school principals in the area, illustrating how to take ownership of their own sustainable growth.

Mrs Zikhali is recognised by the judges as a humble leader, visionary teacher and a devoted community member.