Shared Interest, a New York-based nonprofit social investment fund working in Southern Africa, today announced six extraordinary individuals to be honored at its 20th Anniversary Awards Gala on February 27 at 6:00PM, at Gotham Hall in New York City.

The 2014 Honorees are: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; social justice advocate and philanthropist The Rev. Mpho Tutu; South African filmmaker and producer of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” Anant Singh; and South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool and anti-apartheid and human rights activist Rosieda Shabodien.

Avon Products Inc., a leading global beauty company, will receive the Corporate Award at the gala.

Distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats will gather for this celebratory annual event that recognizes leaders for their commitment and ongoing work towards economic democracy and development in Southern Africa. The black-tie affair will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dessert.

“On the 20th anniversary of Shared Interest and South Africa’s democracy, we are deeply honored to pay tribute to these outstanding honorees for their contributions upholding the economic, social, and political rights of all South Africans,” said Donna Katzin, executive director of Shared Interest. “Our honorees’ leadership and decades-long selfless efforts have helped to lay the foundations for a united, democratic and equitable future in South Africa.”

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, Shared Interest has mobilized US investors, philanthropists, corporations and faith-based organizations to invest in South Africa’s future by providing microfinance organizations, agricultural cooperatives, small businesses and low cost housing organizations with access to capital. More than two million black South Africans – the majority of them women – have benefited from Shared Interest’s $15 million loan guarantees and technical support from South African partner, Thembani International Guarantee Fund, to create jobs, launch small businesses, and build affordable homes.

This year’s Honorary Chairs are Harry Belafonte; Danny Glover; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; The Honorable and Mrs. David Dinkins; The Honorable Suzan Johnson Cook; Felicia Mabuza-Suttle; H.E. Ambassador and Mrs. Kingsley Mamabolo; and Consul General and Mrs. George Monyemangene.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a veteran anti-apartheid activist and peace campaigner, will be honored with A Lifetime of Leadership for Justice, Reconciliation and Peace Award for standing up for justice and offering a prophetic voice to the struggle to end apartheid peacefully and establish a just South Africa. Archbishop Emeritus Tutu also serves as Honorary Chair of Shared Interest’s Board of Advisors and Honorary Co-Chair of its Next Generation Campaign. His daughter, The Rev. Mpho Tutu, will accept the Inspiring the Next Generation Award for her efforts at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation to motivate future generations to create a better world based on just values and principles.

Anant Singh will receive the Advancing Social Justice through Film Award for his contribution to the fight against apartheid through some of the most insightful and thought provoking anti-apartheid films ever made in South Africa. Singh produced the highly-acclaimed biopic on Nelson Mandela's life entitled, ’’Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", starring actors Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. Other renowned films include “Place of Weeping”, “Sarafina!” and “Cry, the Beloved Country.”

Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool and Rosieda Shabodien will be presented with the Forging Partnerships for Equality and Human Rights Award for their tremendous commitment – both individually and together – in promoting and protecting human rights, gender equality, economic justice and full political and social participation in South Africa.

Avon Products Inc. will be recognized for its leadership in helping South African women escape the cycle of poverty by empowering them to launch their own small businesses. Avon’s door-to-door business model has enabled women to create steady income for their families. Earnings by South African “Avon ladies” puts them in the top half of black female earners in their community and brings their income in line with those of black South African men.

Award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault will serve as Evening Host of the gala. The evening performances will feature the South African and African American acapella group Thokoza and Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Following the gala, Shared Interest will host an after party geared towards young professionals from 9:30pm- midnight at Gotham Hall. The after party will support Shared Interest’s Next Generation Campaign, which aims to catalyze investment in South and Southern Africa’s underserved communities.

This year’s major corporate sponsors are CUNY, Merck and South African Airlines.

The Gala host committee includes: Alan Altschuler; Penny Andrews; Michael Armstrong; Thomas C. Barry; Beate Klein Becker; Michael Bennett; Karen and Philip Berry; The Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones; Jean Carey Bond; Price Cobb; Ward Corbett; Sharon Davison; The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche; Peggy Dulany; James Ferrari; Valerie Gamache; The Very Rev. Gary Hall; Gay and Richard Harter; Mark Henegan; Anne Hess and Craig Kaplan; The Rev. Brenda Husson; Jessica Isaacs; Jerry Inzerillo; Barbara Krumsiek; Julie Kushner; Ellen Lambert; Daniel Leader; The Rev. Dr. James Lemler; Sylvia and Byron Lewis; Deborah M.R. Lieberman; Don Lowery; Anne and Vincent Mai; Marco Masotti; Arthur N. Milliken; Harriet Olson; Yvonne O’Neal; Pamela Palanque-North; Margaret Perakis; Susan and Nicholas Pritzker; Kim Samuel; The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori; Brian Sellers-Petersen; Ruby Sprott; Robert V. Taylor; Robert Zevin; and Sthu Zungu.

For ticket information, please visit or call COMPASS EVENTS at 212-843-5750 or Individual gala tickets begin at $500, table packages begin at $5,000. After party tickets are available separately for $100.

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