Phuti Mahanyele, cxecutive chairperson of Sigma Capital, Black Umbrellas CEO Seapei Mafoyane and African Philanthropy Forum board (APF) chair Tsitsi Masiyiwa speaking at the APF Press conference. Photo Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The private sector should view philanthropy as part of running a business, and not as an afterthought, the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) said on Monday.

APF board chairwoman Tsitsi Masiyiwa said investing in the well-being of a society had far greater benefits for a business. 

''I think philanthropists need to be very loud in the boardrooms...be able to communicate in the language that the private sector understands. Philanthropic investment should not be an afterthought, but a type of business you build...where more you give is the more you will have a stronger society, impacting on both the top and the bottom line,'' Masiyiwa told reporters in Johannesburg, ahead of a philanthropic conference this week.

She said the type of leaders for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has changed, with former players in the corporate sector joining and leading NGOs. 

''It is becoming normal for non-profit leaders to serve in the private sector...that to me is important as they understand and can straddle both sectors of the giver and the receiver,'' she said.

On the crucial Zimbabwean elections, Masiyiwa said her organisation was ready to work with whoever would win at the polls on Monday. Zimbabweans were also looking forward to help rebuild the country in the post-Robert Mugabe era, she said.

''We are ready to work and rebuild. I am from Zimbabwe, and many countries such as South Africa provided refuge for millions of Zimbabweans and opportunities to get skills, jobs and establish businesses. It will be a blessing to go back and plough our acquired knowledge. As an organisation, we will work hand in hand with whoever emerges as the winner in Zimbabwe.

This year's APF conference, themed 'Potential and Reality: Bridging the Gap' will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Past APF conferences have been held in Addis Ababa, Kigali, Rabat and Lagos. 

The APF was founded in 2014 and is affiliated to the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF). 

The conferences bring together key players in the African philanthropy space to engage and discuss how to move philanthropy and social investment in the continent forward.

Businesswoman Phuti Mahanyele said African youth are important in philanthropy.

''Young people establish organisations but find it difficult to access support from big corporations. We need to ensure they get that kind of support. One could play roles of middlemen to get corporations to support emerging businesses formed by young people...so young really people need support, they are the biggest in numbers in this continent...and I think that is the area we should focus on,'' said Mahanyele.

Speakers at the conference will include business women Dr Judy Dlamini and Mahanyele, former president Thabo Mbeki, Graça Machel and Gbenga Oyebode.

African News Agency (ANA)