Shared Interest to Host Its 27th Anniversary Virtual Gala on June 15 to Commemorate South African Youth Day and Honor Three Social Justice Trailblazers: Anti-Apartheid Activist Antoinette Sithole, Shared Interest Founding Executive Director Donna Katzin, and United Methodist Church Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala

Shared Interest, one of the nation’s prominent non-profit social investment funds, will host its 27th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m. EST to honor the accomplishments of social justice trailblazers while commemorating South African Youth Day. With the continued effort to help keep guests safe and healthy during the pandemic, the awards gala will be held virtually via live stream on Facebook and Youtube. A celebratory evening of education, entertainment, empowerment, and philanthropy is planned. 

The 2021 gala theme, ‘United for Hope: Forging the Path for the Next Generation,’ was chosen as a nod to those activists who have paved the way and passed the torch to today’s generation of revolutionaries who continue the fight for equality and justice across the globe. In tribute to those who came before, Shared Interest chose June 15 for this year’s gala because National Youth Day in South Africa is June 16, which honors the youth who lost their lives during the historic Soweto Uprising in 1976. Juneteenth will also be observed during the festivities.

During the gala, the following three influential women leaders will be  awarded for their impactful work in service to the global community: 

Antoinette Sithole’s rise to iconic status as an anti-apartheid activist began with a tragic start. In 1976, Sithole participated in the Soweto Uprising along with 20,000 other youth peacefully protesting against the racist practices of the South African government. Photographer Sam Nzima captured Sithole on camera at the devastating moment she was running alongside the man who picked up her slain brother Hector Pieterson; Pieterson was killed by police after they open fired into the crowd of youth protesters. That photo was published both in Time Magazine and on the front page of The World Newspaper and subsequently made the rounds across the world to expose the injustices happening in South Africa. Sithole currently serves as a site guide for tourists, prominent leaders, presidents, and more at the Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial. She travels internationally to share her story and uphold the legacy of her brother. She continues to advocate for justice. 

Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala is the Resident Bishop of the Mozambique Area, which includes Mozambique North, Mozambique South, and South Africa Provisional Conferences in the Africa Central Conference of The United Methodist Church. Under Nhanala’s leadership, the United Methodist Church has continued to build orphanages and schools to educate children in remote areas. Before she was elected bishop, Nhanala served as Mozambique’s HIV/AIDS Project Director for World Relief international, working tirelessly to help people living with AIDS and impacted by HIV. Today, Bishop Nhanala’s work continues to encourage women’s education and empowerment. 

Donna Katzin is the former founding Executive Director of Shared Interest. She led the organization to help move international investors from disinvestment during apartheid to reinvestment when a  democratic new South Africa was born, and Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994. Katzin pioneered the use of partial loan guarantees to encourage commercial banks to lend to low-income Black enterprises and rural communities throughout South Africa–and later extended the work to other Southern African countries. Through Shared Interest, she has built a vehicle for U.S. investors to forge international relationships with Southern Africa’s economically excluded entrepreneurs, farmers, homeowners, and especially women.  Previously she directed South Africa and International Justice Programs for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and created the Human Rights Department, and served as an organizer for District 65 UAW in New Jersey. Katzin, recognizing the connections between struggles for justice in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America, has worked as a community organizer in housing, bilingual education, and the movements to oppose US intervention in Central America and the Caribbean and apartheid in South Africa. As an author, Katzin has written extensively about South Africa, community development, and impact investing. 

“It is a profound honor to receive this award from Shared Interest – particularly at this watershed time of the global pandemic, spiraling inequality, and racial reckoning,” says Katzin. “So many have worked so tirelessly in Southern Africa and the U.S. for decades, centuries to make a reality of rights that remain to be won. We are strengthened by the struggles and living spirits of Soweto’s youth and emancipated slaves in our own country – and privileged to help carry them into our times and beyond.”

Media personality and television host Makho Ndlovu will host the 27th Anniversary Virtual Gala, which happens to be Shared Interest’s largest annual fundraiser. The funds raised from this event are essential to funding both the organization’s programming initiatives and day-to-day operations. 

For more information about the gala, please visit or email Shukura Shears at Both monetary and in-kind sponsorships are still available. For all media inquiries or to schedule interviews with honorees or event organizers, contact Jameka Whitten at 704.965.3297 or

About Shared Interest

In 1994, Shared Interest set out to unlock South Africa’s wealth to benefit the majority of the country’s people. Although political power had changed hands in South Africa, economic power had not. We launched a non-profit social investment fund to mobilize the resources for Southern Africa’s economically marginalized Black communities by moving banks to lend to them.  Our loan guarantees and technical assistance allow smallholder farmers and emerging entrepreneurs to access the credit, markets, and training they need to create sustainable livelihoods for their families and communities. 

Our model generates a leverage effect that multiplies our capital’s impact: since our founding, we have also placed $28 million of guarantees, unlocking $121 million in loans benefitting more than 3 million people, and never lost a cent of an investor’s interest or principal. Shared Interest has also helped create more than 180,000 new small and micro-enterprises, 1.9 million jobs, and 120,000 affordable homes. Building on our successful South African model, we have expanded to Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and are now beginning operations in Zambia and Tanzania. For more information, please visit