Who we are

Play Africa is a South African non-profit company and social enterprise dedicated to creating child-centred spaces that spark creativity and learning through hands-on, experiential activities. We serve children from birth to age 10, their families and schools, igniting curiosity through groundbreaking programmes in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and foundation phase education.

To offer every child an educational experience worthy of his or her potential, to nourish a sense of belonging, and to engage and inspire all visitors to dream about the possibilities inside themselves, their families and their communities.

Play Africa seeks to pioneer inclusive public learning spaces in South Africa, creating engaged citizens and healthy communities by inviting all visitors to discover new worlds, to wonder, to ask questions and to imagine a better future through interactive, hands-on exhibits, programming and play.

Play Africa™ Group is a registered South African non-profit company (NPC#2014/101533/08), and a registered public benefit organisation (PBO#930048005) with Section 18A tax-exempt status. 

We are supported by Kidlinks World, a registered 501(3) non-profit company based in Madison Wisconsin, kidlinksworld.org.

ORGANISATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY

We are a non-profit company run with the efficiency and rigour of a business. Our innovative non-profit business model ensures financial viability to guarantee we will always deliver excellence in our partnerships, programming and facilities.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

We will use the latest sustainability principles in the construction/renovation of our 5,000 m² building, conserving this country’s precious natural resources and minimising our carbon footprint. As part of this commitment to sustainability, we will employ cutting-edge building principles that draw on centuries-old principles of indigenous African architecture.

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY

We will prioritise local economies and partners in all of our exhibitions and programs, with a particular focus on creating jobs for previously disadvantaged communities.

We qualify as a Socio-Economic Development (SED) beneficiary and/or equity owners under South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) guidelines.

Our Story

Our vision is a society that celebrates the vivid imagination and unique spirit inside every child.

Click to read the full story

When veteran journalist Gretchen Wilson-Prangley walked into a children’s museum on the other side of the world, she wasn’t expecting to have an “a-ha moment.”

It was 2012, and Wilson-Prangley had been based in Johannesburg for eight years as a correspondent for the U.S. public radio programme, Marketplace. During a family holiday in Seattle, she took her children to visit Imagine Children’s Museum in nearby Everett.

As a new mother, she was blown away by the power of a beautiful, dedicated space for children to play and learn together.

“What I saw was a safe and welcoming environment that honoured children and championed their right to play,” Wilson-Prangley said. “What’s more, it was vibrant, fun and exciting for families and children alike! Immediately, I could see what a powerful catalyst a learning space of this kind – created by families and children in Johannesburg – could be for a city like Johannesburg, and a country like South Africa.”

That day, Wilson-Prangley decided to quit her job, and Play Africa was born.

Since our inception, Play Africa and our Founding Partners have shared a powerful vision to help all children in our community share in a bright future. We’ve worked together to lay the foundation of a dynamic children’s museum, and have been an active voice that champions play and play-based learning. We’ve been fueled by a shared passion for igniting curiosity among young children and creating welcoming, inclusive environments that nurture a sense of belonging.

In 2016, we successfully executed Phase I of our journey, having piloted and prototyped a range of children’s museum exhibits and programmes in dozens of communities across greater Johannesburg. By 2017, we will have successfully moved into Phase II, running regular programmes within one central location as we take steps to launch our flagship facility.

Yet Play Africa is about more than simply building a world-class children’s museum. We are advancing a movement to ignite life-long love of learning, strengthen family connections, and break down South Africa’s on-going spatial segregation and social divides. Play Africa is where children and families from all backgrounds can come together to play, learn and dream.

In a world confronting growing economic and social inequalities, Play Africa hopes to show the world a viable, sustainable and scalable way to create truly inclusive and inspirational public spaces designed to bring our children, families and communities together.

“For many people, apartheid spatial planning remains a part of their daily lived reality,” said Play Africa founding board member Rehana Moosajee. “Space can be used to transcend the boundaries that are self-imposed, and to break down the barriers and the fears that people hold about each other, about the unknown and about who the other is. Play Africa certainly will be one of those catalytic spaces for the country.”

Board of Directors

Team

Partners and Donors

Play Africa would not be possible without the support of our founding partners and global supporters.

Founding Partners

Donors and Affiliates

Donor Wall

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