South Africa: How Crowdfunding Captured the Hearts and Wallets of South Africans

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(file photo).
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What happens when medical bills stack up or university tuition fees are due, and there's no government safety net to help you out? You ask friends, acquaintances and strangers for help. South Africans in this situation are increasingly turning to online crowdfunding -- where hundreds of millions of rand are raised annually through little more than simple appeals to kindness.

In late September 2019, an elderly woman from Laingsburg who sells homemade bread at the side of the road will be leaving her Western Cape home for the first time in her life on a trip to Italy.

Ntombikayise, a student whose mother is a single parent and a pensioner, will soon be completing a master's degree in chemical engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand.

A four-year-old boy in Sea Point, Cape Town, who is the only child in South Africa to be diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, was able to receive a costly bone marrow transplant in August 2018.

What these three stories have in common: they were made possible almost entirely by online donations from ordinary South Africans.

Crowdfunding -- the practice of raising small amounts of money from a large number of people on the...

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