Richard Mason is the founder of the Kay Mason Foundation South Africa Trust.
Richard Mason was born in 1978 and was educated in South Africa before moving to London. He completed his schooling at Eton College, after which he obtained a degree in English Literature at Oxford University. At the age of seventeen, Richard started writing a book. He published his first novel, The Drowning People, when he was 21 (in 1999) and with the proceeds of this novel Richard decided to recruit and sponsor underprivileged children in South Africa. Richard wanted to provide access to quality education in order to bridge the opportunity gap which is one of South Africa’s greatest challenges.
Richard has subsequently published 3 more books:
• The Lighted Rooms
• History of a Pleasure Seeker
Statement by our Founder: Richard Mason
The idea for the Kay Mason Foundation – named after my sister Kay, who died when I was a child – grew out of the entirely unexpected success of The Drowning People, a novel I published in 1999 at the age of 19. For the first time in my life I had a disposable income and I turned my mind to thinking what best to do with it.
I have always been a passionate believer in the power of education and in the urgent need for a multi-racial middle class in South Africa, the country of my birth. With the divisions of the Apartheid era only too apparent in the nation’s fabric today, I thought that I might be able to build a bridge, however small, between the country’s first and third world communities. It seemed sensible to make the most of what South Africa already has and to provide young people not merely with aid, but offer and opportunity of empowerment and contribute to the process of sustainable change.
It all started in 1999 when I privately sponsored the high school education of Siyamthemba Kakaza, Sifiso Mazibuko, Cloepatra Eland and Nadine Moodie. These first KMF Scholars did exceptionally well: three of them became School Prefects, one became the Head Girl of Day Girls and all completed their schooling, after which they went university.
Inspired by their achievements, I decided to set up the Kay Mason Foundation in order to allow others to taste the joy I had experienced in helping such exceptional children. Under the committed patronage of Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Foundation has thrived – and we now support up to 75 scholars per year at various quality schools in South Africa.
In my experience, most people have a desire or need to share by giving something back to the world, but are uncertain as to how best go about it. I have set up the Kay Mason Foundation to provide an easy, practical and transparent structure for focussed giving.
To learn more about Richard Mason, visit his personal website: http://www.richard-mason.org/