Measured in years, Ifa Lethu has blossomed in a remarkably short period of time. In just over 12 years, the project has grown from the happenstance of a promise kept by an Australian Diplomat, to the realisation of a global project that contributes incalculably to South Africa’s heritage, history and economic development. Ifa Lethu is a Proudly South African organisation, with a national footprint and whose larger vision is based on empowering the youth of the country .

Today the Foundation manages South Africa’s largest repatriation and creative entrepreneurial and rural development effort devoted to raising pride in the African identity and the economic empowerment of youth especially in the rural areas of the country. The repatriation of art created by our struggle-era artists, now numbers 670 and required the involvement of 16 countries. Such a cultural preservation effort has been purposeful in raising the issue of African identity and pride for youth of South Africa and the continent. The fact that such art was created during the 1970’s and 1980’s by our Black artists, is extraordinary and that it was preserved and returned to South Africa is a minor miracle. Forming the Ifa Lethu Heritage Collection, these artworks have travelled extensively in South Africa for the Soccer World Cup and to countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom (for the 2012 Olympic Games) and to France (South Africa-French Seasons and the Human Rights Congress in Nantes), to name a few.

Through its work over the last three years, the Foundation has successfully assisted 2300 poverty stricken youth and women, delivering on benefits such as income generation through job creation and enterprise development. During this time 800 successful youth businesses in seven provinces (in the areas of visual art, craft, sculpture, fossilised heritage, fashion and design) have been incubated. Much of the Foundation’s sterling work has been accomplished through many noteworthy public-private partnerships that have addressed many of the country’s most pressing youth problems. Therefore the Foundation enjoys a successful track record in providing alternative developmental solutions to poverty alleviation and income generation in the extremely underdeveloped areas of South Africa. It also enjoys impeccable credentials in countries like the United Kingdom, India, Chile, Australia, and France.

The vision of Ifa Lethu is one in which our youth should be charged with the tasks of acting as agents of change and development.

Therefore we have invested in our Continent’s most important resource-our Youth. For this reason we have prioritised social healing, skills development, innovation and technology-all in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The results of our work have been impressive and have indicated high levels of return on funder investment, especially in our youth and heritage. This also demonstrates how heritage and the creative economies can be leveraged to alleviate poverty, create employment, empower our youth and our rural communities, catalyse economic growth, heal our souls, transform our people and prepare our youth for future leadership of our country.

This allows Ifa Lethu to align its work to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, South Africa’s National Development Plan, Mzansi’s Golden Economy and the Green Economy


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