Shalamuka Capital is the BEE investment vehicle 
that transpired as a result of the partnership between the Shalamuka Foundation and RMB Corvest. Shalamuka Capital

The Shalamuka Foundation

The Shalamuka Foundation is an endowment fund that was formed in 2006 to raise long-term, sustainable funding for its sole beneficiary, the Penreach Whole School Development Programme (Penreach). The Foundation has a two-pronged investment approach, namely to take part in BEE deals done by listed companies, and to build a private equity business though Shalamuka Capital.

The Shalamuka model makes use of the opportunities, skills and capital provided by the trustees and other volunteers involved to ensure the benefits flow directly to the intended recipients. The overheads are minimal as much of the work is carried out by the Shalamuka trustees on a voluntary basis.

The trustees to the Fund are respected members of the business community and have impressive socio-economic development track records. Majority (85%) of the trustee members are black, female South Africans. The trustees are volunteers and do not benefit economically in any way from Shalamuka or Penreach.

The Shalamuka success story

The Shalamuka Foundation believes that a good teacher makes a poor student good and a good student superior. So when students fail, teachers too have failed. The Shalamuka Foundation was formed by Paul Harris (former CEO of the FirstRand Group) to address South Africa’s ongoing need for quality education in disadvantaged communities.

Paul’s vision was to create a long-term, sustainable funding vehicle that would not just pay lip service to problems in the community regarding education, but one that would make a real difference to inspire, educate and empower teachers, learners and communities.

The Foundation earmarked Penreach ?a non-profit, in-service skills development programme that supports educators in Mpumalanga and surrounding communities, as a suitable vehicle to realise its vision.

The Foundation subsequently partnered with RMB Corvest (a private equity company of the FirstRand Group) in 2008 to establish Shalamuka Capital as its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment private equity company, to generate long-term sustainable funding for Penreach through private equity and BEE deals.


Functional, efficient schools where future generations of young people can acquire the skills they need to be successful, is what Penreach is all about.

Penreach’s involvement in education ranges from early childhood development (ECD) to the mentoring of school governing bodies. Penreach also supports the upgrading of facilities, from computer rooms to kitchen lapas and communities are taught self-sufficiency through food gardens and the sinking of boreholes for water.

Starting out with 40 educators from 10 schools in 1994, Penreach today reaches more than 2 000 teachers, 350 000 students and over 900 schools a year, thanks to the funding and support from the Shalamuka Foundation, directors and stakeholders. Penreach is replicated in a number of other schools in South African which have initiated their own teacher outreach programmes based on the Penreach model.

The Penreach programme is run from the Penryn College (a private school in Nelspruit) ?and offers educators, teachers and learners:
  • Weekly skills development workshops
  • Maths, Science and English Development Programmes
  • School Management Team Programme
  • Strengthening Our Schools Programme
  • Library Development Programme
  • Daily visits to schools by experienced field advisers
  • Tutorial workshops for mathematics and physical science learners
  • A mobile science laboratory that visits schools in the region
  • An in-service mentoring and coaching of school principals by a retired principal (Principals Reaching Principals pilot)
  • National Qualifications Framework (NQF) courses that currently focus on early childhood development

The Mpumalanga Department of Education awarded Penreach a certificate of merit in 2011 for its outstanding contribution to promoting excellence in education in Mpumalanga.

RMB Corvest

RMB Corvest is a private equity company and is a member of the FirstRand Group. It has completed over 150 deals, has an established track record, staff highly experienced in private equity and access to the resources of the RMB group. In addition, it is an on balance sheet company and therefore does not have the exit timing pressures of a private equity fund.