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Empowering South African Creativity 

Ifa Lethu, a nonprofit Foundation based in Tshwane, South Africa is devoted to the development and economic growth of the creative sectors in the country.

Through the intervention of former Australian diplomats, Diane Johnstone and Bruce Haigh and the Australian High Commission in South Africa and the South African Ministry of Arts and Culture, the Foundation was launched in November 2005, by the then Minister of Arts and Culture, the Honourable Dr. Z. Pallo Jordan. The original aim of the Foundation was to repatriate South African struggle-era cultural heritage such as art and art objects back into the country.

Ifa Lethu today manages the largest heritage repatriation effort in South Africa with collections having been repatriated from countries such as the United States of America, Canada, France, Australia, Spain, Holland, the United Kingdom and Germany. Further collections have been identified across the globe and every endeavour is made by Ifa Lethu to facilitate their repatriation to their home country. Ifa Lethu thanks all its generous donors who make this possible.


Recent activities marked a rapid growth and an extension of our mandate, which has resulted in the Foundation focusing on the provision of skills for creative practitioners so they may become successful entrepreneurs. This extension has allowed the foundation to align its work with the national priorities of poverty alleviation and community upliftment. While Repatriation, education and outreach of heritage remain the core business of the Foundation, the development aspect has been fully incorporated into our work. This was guided by the lessons harnessed over the last two years, and by the recognition of current challenges that plague the heritage and creative sectors.


It was also guided by our research which pointed to the lack of available and related skills in this sector and the failure to use heritage to empower communities and create a more entrepreneurial society in South Africa, thus contributing to the economic development of the country. Headed by CEO Dr. Narissa Ramdhani and Chaired by Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, the Ifa Lethu Foundation has, through its sophisticated training programmes developed creative entrepreneurs and reated markets for them nationally and internationally. Since inception, the work of Ifa Lethu has evolved into:

  • Development of young and rural creative talent and skills in the visual arts, crafts and fashion sectors.
  • Training and mentoring of young creative entrepreneurs to reach sustainable levels allowing them to contribute to the economy of the country.
  • Development in fashion design and production for young designers.
  • Sustaining the awareness of all projects.

The foundation receives its funding from the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the National Lottery and the private sector in South Africa. 

Welcome to the colourful and exciting world of Ifa Lethu.