Founded in 1997, South Africa Partners (SA Partners) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the development of partnerships between the United States and South Africa in the areas of health, education, and economic development. Building upon the efforts of tens of thousands of individuals across the United States who supported the international movement for democracy in South Africa, SA Partners seeks to support and promote equitable and sustainable development in South Africa, while building bridges between our two countries.
Our founders - Janet Axelrod, Margaret Burnham, Mary Tiseo, and Marti Wilson-Taylor - believed that those in the U.S. who had worked passionately to bring about a just society in South Africa, devoid of racial barriers, would welcome opportunities to remain engaged during its transformation process. Over the past 15 years, SA Partners has facilitated relationships between individuals and institutions here and in South Africa seeking to establish productive relationships that will contribute toward this goal.
Post-apartheid South Africa has emerged as a world leader with influence well beyond its size and position. South Africa's constitution is one of the most progressive in the world, enshrining democratic values and promoting human rights. Because of its pro-active stance on the inclusion of women in leadership, South Africa now ranks fifth in the world in women's participation in government. South Africa's multicultural democracy has fundamentally altered sub-Saharan Africa's economic and political configuration, enriching approaches to development and conflict resolution. These advances offer unique opportunities for development.
At the same time, South Africa occupies a special place in US history. Not only have South Africans and Americans been engaged in an exchange of ideas that dates back to the beginning of the last century, tens of thousands of Americans were spurred to become politically active for the first time as they joined the broad-based coalitions of religious institutions, student organizations, community groups, and labor unions which supported the international movement to end apartheid.
With one out of every ten Americans being of African origin, the strengthening of Africa as a whole and South Africa in particular, has significant and far-reaching implications for the United States. The dramatic transition in South Africa has offered an exciting opportunity to increase awareness of African success stories among the general public in the United States. In forging new relationships with South Africa, a leader on the continent, the US has an opportunity to support the emergence of African leadership within the world community.
It is in this context that SA Partners operates as a facilitator between and among a variety of U.S. and South African constituents. The organization's comprehensive network of contacts in both countries allows for extensive consultation, ongoing project support, and effective and efficient problem solving.