Democracy & Social Justice

What we do in: Democracy & Social Justice

Inequality, poverty and the failure to deliver quality public services such as health and education threaten to undo democratic gains in the region.  In response, the Democracy & Social Justice programme seeks to strengthen the political voice of marginalised groups advocating for socio-economic rights and the equitable use of state resources to address injustice.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe: A Lesson of Hope and Despair in Zimbabwe


Robert Mugabe, the prime minister and president of Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 until 2017, when he was overthrown in a coup, has passed away at the age of 95. To speak the name “Mugabe” invokes charged political debates characterised by a range of conflicting tensions: hope and despair, demonisation and adulation, contempt and respect, dissent and loyalty. Sometimes these attitudes are interchangeable and overlapping, sometimes they express more fixed polarities. These divisions draw from the violence, fissures and closures that have given rise to Zimbabwe’s post-colonial political spectrum and left painful traces in the political imaginary of Zimbabwean people.

By Brian Raftopoulos

Gender & Sexual Diversity

What we do in: Gender & Sexual Diversity

Realising substantive gender equality in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe has been challenging. Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and communities in the region remain disadvantaged, stigmatised and excluded from many aspects of economic, political and social life. Public and political awareness-raising and the prevention of gender based and sexual violence are therefore core focus areas of our work. We also partner with key civil society actors as well as public and religious thought leaders to effectively challenge homophobic policies, legislations and attitudes.

Keeping the Faith: Working at the Crossroads of Religion and Sexual & Gender Rights.


Keeping the Faith: Working at the Crossroads of Religion and Sexual and Gender Rights is a project of the HBF that seeks to explore and support faith as a site for strengthening human rights and justice for LGBTIQ people. This publication provides a snapshot of current issues, initiatives and central actors in the field and a conceptual framework to advance sexual and gender rights, as well as potential strategies to inform such work.

Sustainable Development

What we do in: Sustainable Development

Faced with on-going development challenges compounded by the imminent threat of a warming and unstable global climate, sustainable development considerations have never been more compelling in Southern Africa. The Sustainable Development programme seeks to facilitate platforms for civil society, policy makers, decision makers and other stakeholders traditionally left out of the mainstream discourse to ensure that the interconnectedness between humans and nature is understood.

You Cannot Have Jobs on a Dead Planet


This month, South Africa’s youth infotainment show, Politically Aweh, in partnership with Action 24 – Active Citizens for Responsive Legislatures, launched a video series on the climate crisis in Mzansi. With the recent femicides that shook the nation to xenophobic attacks and an unemployment rate of 29%, it’s understandably challenging for young South Africans to even think about climate change. However, as Goldman Environmental prize winner, activist and HBF partner Makoma Lekalakala points out in the first video “You cannot have jobs on a dead planet.”

By Politically Aweh, Action 24

The Sorry Tale of a Coal Mine in Paradise - and the Japanese Hands Behind It

Partner Analysis

The people of the Bushveld around Waterberg used to live peaceful lives in a beautiful area — until Medupi destroyed its ecological and social fabric. The government — with a Japanese firm — plans to build another coal-fired power station in the area, but the community is fighting back.

By Elana Greyling, Earthlife Africa Associate

Resource Politics

What we do in: Resource Politics

Southern Africa has a rich diversity of natural resources and yet most of the region's countries are characterised by high levels of poverty and inequality. Together with our partners in South Africa and Zimbabwe we seek to engage all relevant stakeholders, from local communities to national decision makers, in order to help realise the sustainable, fair and transparent management of natural resources in the region.

International Politics

What we do in: International Politics

This component of our work aims to inject questions of human rights, sustainable development, good governance and gender equality into discourses around African international relations and global governance. We are especially interested in South Africa’s and other emerging powers’ roles on the continent and beyond.

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