Tshikululu : Social Investment Solutions for the Greater Good

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Tshikululu Social Investments is striving to achieve sustainable social change in South Africa.


Tshikululu Social Investments has continually strived to achieve deep and sustainable social change since inception in 1998 and through the expertise and partnerships it has established, Tshikululu is now recognised as one of the best in its market.

 As the first professionalised outsourced social investment fund Management Company in South Africa, Tshikululu’s key clients have included Anglo American, De Beers, AngloGold Ashanti and the Ernest Oppemheimer Memorial Trust and after 18 years the Company still holds the former two as key customers, a rarity in this ever changing market.

 From humble beginnings as a small Company comprised of only 11 staff and four trusts under its management, Tshikululu now has 60 staff with 23 trusts under its management. Having retained its primary focus of providing outsourced social investment solutions to corporate companies who invest in communities in which they operate, as well as strategic initiatives; the Company has been able to go from strength to strength in its speciality market.

 “Our service lines have evolved from pure social investment trust management, to now also including short-term advisory services to companies seeking to develop or review their social investment strategies, develop monitoring, evaluation systems and community assessments,” explains Tracey Henry, Managing Director of Tshikululu Social Investments.

 As a Company, Tshikululu is always looking to evolve and expand through various schemes which not only support the Company but also people and companies in both the surrounding area and those which are linked to it via Company clients or trusts. Tshikululu has recently expanded its remit to working with development partners who are supported by funding provided by the Company’s clients or trusts which are under its management.

 “Over the years we have developed numerous strategies which align to each client’s business philosophy and operations. We have also aligned the strategies to the broader national context, which is focused on innovation and piloting new initiatives which can then hopefully be taken up to scale at both a national and government level. 


The Company has always placed a huge precedent on implementing social investment solutions which will have impacts for the greater good. In working with a wide variety of stakeholders from business, civil society and Government, Tshikululu aims to leverage its resources to ensure that its work creates the maximum impact possible. 

 With the changes the Company has witnessed to the investment sector over the years, it has been pivotal that Tshikululu remains proactive in attempting to stay ahead of these changes.

 “The noticeable shift from philanthropic to more systemic social investments has meant that as a knowledge-based organisation, the Company has to ensure that it attracts and retains the best skills in the sector; also utilising the technology available to us to manage our knowledge bank and both develop new and support existing knowledge sharing forums,” continues Henry. 

 The Company has managed to differentiate itself not only in terms of ethos but also in cost, with one of Tshikululu’s aims being to keep the cost of trust management low. It has been successful in doing so – very successful in fact – keeping below the international standards of 18 percent.

 Tshikululu is able to achieve economies of scale due to its focus on continuous system and process improvements, alongside the number of trusts under the Company’s management and avoiding duplication of research and projects. By facilitating partnerships between its clients and other funders, Tshikululu is able to not only leverage resources but also maximise funds which are available for social investment.

 “Ethical leadership is fundamental to the work we do, not only does this include ensuring that from the board down everyone in the company lives our values and is held accountable for their actions,” says Henry. “It is of vital importance that all the correct checks are done to ensure we provide world-class financial, risk management and whistle blower policies, therefore there would be no issues should any unethical or corrupt actions be detected. We have a zero tolerance approach to corruption here at Tshikululu.”

The Company has very stringent morals which have been in place since inception, ensuring the rule of the law, preserving the independence of the judiciary and protecting our constitution is another example of support we provide to activist and lobby groups, in the interest of the greater good of all South Africans.


In-keeping with the Company’s constantly evolving nature, Tshikululu is always seeking ways to improve the management of social investment funds; influencing the sector in minimising ineffective giving. Not only is this focus placed on corporate donors, but private, international and Government funders.

 Henry explains: “This is a big and audacious project in which we believe that through the effective management of resources, we will be able to not only reach more people, but also reach them in a more effective manner.”

 Another simultaneous and important project which it has started recently is to support initiatives which strengthen civil society and dialogue at a national level, regarding key initiatives. 

 The key initiatives that the Company has decided to focus on include engaging on key issues at the heart of South Africa in the present day, such as the #feesmustfall movement; and also how civil society, business and Government can work as more effective partners in providing additional support in assisting university students to both access and complete their studies.

 The Company pays a great amount of attention to the cultural tendencies which surround it, knowing just how important retaining the right cultural fit is to the Company.

 Henry alludes: “Like most companies, we aim to attract and retain the best people we can within the sector. Cultural fit is vital. We will constantly support the ongoing training and development of staff, both financially and with the time we can give to them. We place a huge emphasis on in-house training, in addition to off-site training, as well as mentoring schemes and coaching.”

 Due to a combination of factors, Tshikululu has succeeded in translating theory into practice, providing the best-in-class social investment solutions. The mixture of deep, on-the-ground development experience, professional trust management, and advisory services enable the Company to do this.

This defining factor of working hard on the implementation of impactful social investment solutions is a motto which has made Tshikululu the success it is today.

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