My serious political philanthropy started in South Africa, where I visited Soweto and generally got to know South Africa from the black population, not the white one. George Soros decides he is going to enter, and he says, “This is a society that has first-world institutions, that has tremendous resources, but that excludes the vast majority of its population. This is the place where I’m most needed and where my resources are most needed.” George, in 1979, decided to fund the education of black students at the University of Cape Town because he understood that there would come a time when democracy would be secured, and that those people who would occupy positions of leadership would have to be black and would have to be African. I was one of the first bursary recipients in the program that George Soros had set up to fund open universities in South Africa. So I’ve come full-circle, as a bursary recipient and now as a board member of the Open Society Foundations. At the moment of the transition, what you see is the vast majority of the population suffering enormous deprivation and the most urgent corrective that was needed was to make sure that people could have access to good education, to good housing that was affordable. Mandela knew that my father had been helpful and also could provide real candor and advice. Mandela asked him to give him some thoughts about how to reform the South African economy and make it both more inclusive but also stable, and my father provided him with his own views. George Soros launched a project. It was called the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency. And it was intended to provide low-cost housing for people who had been residents of these shanty towns. And we put up a vast number of houses. There was a very good local team, a collaborative effort where we were not only bringing money but expertise. The beauty, as it were, of housing is you can see and feel it. The thought was providing something visible would be giving a real boost to President Mandela at a critical moment in the life of South Africa. George Soros’s foundation in South Africa was a place for meaningful engagement, for reconciliation, and a place to reimagine what a future of collaboration could look like. It’s a South African organization. It’s led by South African people. They understand the environment that we are operating in. That’s what makes them different to any other funder, in the sense that you’ve got the local people driving the organization. OSF-SA has become an agile and courageous donor. It looks for opportunities to promote civil society. It looks to see where there are gaps. What’s quite important about OSF South Africa is the recognition of the importance of being rooted in communities and of being able to build movements and build power. What this is about is giving local voices the agency to shape their reality the way they want to shape it. Sometimes civil society groups, sometimes campaigns, activism, and I think that has been one of the key insights of the open society ideal. It is important for us to promote the independent media and enable them to have an environment in which they can operate so that these issues that would otherwise remain hidden are heard. OSF has done an incredible job of providing funding and resources to independent media organizations who believe that in investigating, revealing wrongdoing and corruption we’re able to ultimately bridge the accountability gap and make our democracy stronger. Open Society Foundations has made a big investment in supporting those who defend the Constitution, young lawyers, communities that support understanding of justice and the law. OSF South Africa has been fundamental to the ability of Equal Education Law Centre to be able to provide the sort of legal services that we do. One of the big cases we did was having to represent the families of the deceased miners in Marikana. We didn’t just simply represent the families in the commission, but made sure that in 20 years’ time, in 30 years’ time, when the story of Marikana was told, it was told from the perspective of those families. It was told in the perspective of the community members who were there when the massacre happened. OSF, from the beginning, enabled us to grow into an organization that supports many more people. TAC is the Treatment Action Campaign. It was formed at a time when there was no access to antiretroviral drugs in South Africa. At the time, people were dying, and the government was doing nothing about it. So when you come to OSF with your proposal, with your suggestion, they understand where you’re coming from. Their question is not, “Why do you want to do this?” but it’s often, “How do you intend to achieve?” We do have a good foundation, they are making a valuable contribution, and this is a time when we need the foundation more than ever. Through our work, we are able to support civil society organizations at a moment in the history of the country when a new generation of leaders are stepping forward. The new generation of change makers who we hope will advance the values of the open society to ensure that the society in which we live is truly open, is truly just, is truly democratic, and is truly fair.