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In 1994 the late Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris and Philanthropist/Businessman Dr Bertie Lubner came together with a shared mission to fix aspects of South African society broken by decades of apartheid. With South Africa about to transition to democracy, the pair saw this as a significant time to establish Tikkun. The organisation focused on basic assistance to victims of fire, disease and hunger, along with adult skills training, literacy and dress making. Once Dr Bertie Lubner and Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris realised they could not achieve their vision alone, they joined forces with Herby Rosenberg, Ann Harris and Arnold Forman in Johannesburg, and Jack Tworetsky and the late Benny Reich in Cape Town. Their vision was based on the Jewish value of Tzedakah (compassion, caring and helping) and the African value of Ubuntu (community warmth and sharing).

Renamed MaAfrika Tikkun in 2003 and later Afrika Tikkun in 2011, the organisation won the support of the organisation’s Patron-in-Chief in memoriam, Nelson Mandela. Over the last 25 years, we have built four centres of excellence across Gauteng and one in the Western Cape.


After a visit to a Tikkun project in Orange Farm in 1999, President Nelson Mandela said that he had “seen a miracle” and offered to become the Patron-in-Chief.

In the words of Nelson Mandela:

“Afrika Tikkun project’s demonstrates in a practical and sustainable manner what can be done with limited resources, great commitment and passion. The challenge to reach all the disadvantaged people of South Africa remains a paramount one. We need all the resources, both human and financial, to address these challenging tasks. It is my belief that [Ma]Afrika Tikkun represents the best of what civil society can offer in partnership with Government’s considerable efforts. [Ma]Afrika Tikkun has proven that it has the ability to reach sections of our disadvantaged population at grassroots level. It therefore provides both physical help, as well as giving hope and dignity to the recipients.”


We currently work with Afrika Tikkun teams in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA. Each international partner implements unique programmes particular to their country context. Each country works with a range of corporate partners that share a passion to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in South Africa. Some initiatives driven by our global offices include the UK’s Big Give Christmas Challenge, and the June and Eliot Tatelman Camps which focus on HIV/AIDS and are named in honour of the Boston-based family noted for their philanthropy.