"It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build." – Nelson Mandela

Paying it forward

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Rooseveldt

As we start this new year many of us may want to spend some (or more) of our time this year making the world a better place. To help we are sharing some of the ways that the CN&CO team pays it forward. Tweet us, email us, text us, or call us, and let us know how you pay it forward.

While this blog is not a comprehensive list of all the ways that we give, as a business and as individuals, it certainly gives some insight into the myriad ways there are to give. You can also read our “Sharing the love” blog series to read more about the projects below and many others we have been involved in.

Many of us at CN&CO give or pay it forward through the work we do with our clients and in our personal capacity. As Rob says “Society seems to expect that you get paid for everything you do, unless it is explicitly helping a charity or going towards some PR stunt or whatever but a lot of people just do things because they can make a difference, big or small, in the world. And that is awesome.”

RMB and the national rowing squad

RMB has been a partner of CN&CO for years. We do their rowing PR, assist in managing sponsorships and the outputs for these, assist with the distribution of funds, and manage the sponsorship and outputs of five regattas in South Africa.

We also help manage the various relationships and outputs between RMB, Team Powerhouse Trust, and the national rowing squad. Team Powerhouse Trust was started by a rowing Old Boy to raise funds to grow South African rowing and support the national team in representing our country at the Olympics, with a focus on bringing home medals. In fact, RMB and the national squad were introduced by our Carel ­­– another part of our work is connecting people and brands.

CN&CO supports the national squad, assisting with marketing and partners; linking sponsors; managing the athletes; and organising public and motivational talks to corporates. Through our work with RMB we are also involved in the school billboard project which ensures that funds go towards each school’s rowing development and helps celebrate the amazing people in South Africa who are making a difference.

Supporting the Arts

We love the arts and we support the arts in any way we can: from helping organisations like the Jozi Film Festival, the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival, and the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa in grant applications to purchasing art and tickets to shows.

Business and Arts South Africa

BASA is a great organisation that connects artists and art projects with businesses. As you can imagine there are many, many benefits to this including funding, relationship building, and mentorship. We love working with BASA and we have been fortunate to receive some BASA awards over the years. Furthermore, Carel is on the board and Colin helps great written content for social, PR, and the website.

Neo and Colin celebrating our BASA awards nomination

Jozi Film Festival

We are very involved with the Jozi Film Festival and Lisa Henry, one of the founders, is a great friend of ours. From connecting the JFF with other cool partners to handling their social media and PR, we are all about supporting local South African and African filmmakers.

Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa

The SSOSA seeks to demystify the poet, playwright, and influencer (yes, if he was alive today brands would be begging him to punt them on his social media) and his work to make it more accessible to a broader South Africa. We have been involved in helping with their PR, creating content, and more. Read more about the SSOSA here.


If you don’t know about the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy at St Stithians College, read this. It’s an incredible organisation working towards improving education in South Africa through teacher development, enrichment classes for high school students, scholarships, and more. Some of us contribute to Thandulwazi regularly through donations, time, and connections.

The Each One Sponsor One programme allows you to pledge monthly or annually to enable a teacher or student to attend one of the Thandulwazi programmes (which they will attend for free). It’s a donation of only R150 per month that allows you to pay it forward and help improve the future of education in South Africa.

Lombard Partnerships

Through our work with Lombard Partnerships we have connected with an impressive young man named Mlungisi Mazibuko. Mlu is a cyclist who is taking the trails by storm! He is a talented mountain and road cyclist who is co-sponsored by CN&CO, Lombard Partnerships and The Sponsorshop – two of CN&CO’s partners and friends. We always love hearing from him about the latest competition or trail he has conquered and we sometimes bump into him on a way to a trail. Read more about Mlu’s adventures.

Mlungisi after smashing the 106km Amashova Durban Classic

Investing in small businesses

Carel is always involved in some exciting project. He can often be found finding ways to empower and support others which is why it makes sense that he got involved in helping a young student with capital for hair wax called F-Boy. In fact, Carel helps over 20 small businesses in this way; he helps with a small portion of initial capital and provides support and then lets them fly. Another example of this is DeadReck – a local lifestyle and clothing brand started in 2014. Read more here and visit the online store to get kitted out for your next workout sesh.

Gianluca also supports small businesses through an organisation called KIVA. “I definitely believe in giving back,” he says. “One way I do this is through an organisation called KIVA.org where I donate every few months and that gets allocated to entrepreneurs around the world to help them with their businesses that span across various trades, cities, and cultures. It’s a brilliant cause and enables the growth of business and activity across the world,” he says.

Check it out here: www.kiva.org

Pro bono work

We often pay it forward by offering our skills and expertise pro bono to some impressive projects and organisations. Over the years these have included the iMadiba Project, Pablo Clark Racing, the RMB national rowing squad, the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy, and more.

Starting our own charitable organisations

Love our trails 

This environmental organisation was started by our Blake five years ago to educate people about our environment to ensure we have sustainable trails and mountains for future generations to enjoy. CN&CO is a partner, helping link businesses and people, sharing content, and driving environmental talks. 


Blake is co-founder of this exciting platform. “It links people and companies to charities and organisations in need of the skills they offer from volunteering time, sharing skills, donating products, or funding,” he says.

“The platform tracks and rewards staff while building a caring and empowering company culture and saving the team hours of time capturing their impact,” he concludes. CN&CO is a key partner in linking businesses and networks and adding value through content, marketing, and mentorship. 

“It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” – Nelson Mandela

iMadiba launch attendees having a conversation in the iMadiba at the JSE

Using sneakers to help those less fortunate than we are

Gianluca loves sneakersand he has collected a fair amount over the years. He doesn’t always wear each pair so in 2017 he started a great new habit for when he buys a new pair. “I check my wardrobe, select a pair, and give them to someone less fortunate who would benefit from them. This way, I am allowing others to enjoy my passion and there is nothing cooler than a new pair of kicks to step in the right direction!”

Using our love of fitness to help the less fortunate

Rob is into fitness. If there is a race, obstacle course, or physically challenging event that’s happening Rob is probably there. If he’s not it’s probably because it clashed with some other similar event.

A good example of what we mean is this quote from Rob: “I took part in Mad2Run 2016 for education in SA and I was in the Mongolia Charity Rally in 2014 for emergency services in Mongolia,” he says. Currently, among other things, “I donate money either monthly or ad hoc to causes like Bokamoso, and sometimes I give my time instead of my money,” says the fitness junkie.

I have also helped “marshal on a friend’s trail run, I have helped organise chairs for physio patients in Bara with Megs (a physio and Rob’s girlfriend), and I also connect people with job opportunities,” he says. “Sometimes, it’s the simple act of having a conversation to see if you can help,” concludes Rob.

Helping children and our youth

Bokamoso Education Trust

Bokamoso enables people to support the schooling of disadvantaged children. Through the collective donations of individuals and companies, the trust activates the financial muscle needed to provide its beneficiary children with an education and gives these children the necessary start to their lives. The idea of the trust is based on crowd funding, where individual contributions are combined and mobilized towards the education costs of its beneficiary children.

Doug Laburn, head of Lombard Partnerships (our partner), is the co-founder of the trust. He initially introduced us to the organisation, which we were very happy to back. CN&CO has partnered with the Bokamoso Trust to help raise awareness of its activities and attract donors and mentors to this worthy, grassroots cause. If you’d also like to be a donor at Bokamoso here’s what you can do.

A few of our Born2Run athletes after a race

Doing homework and learning to swim

Our word nerd Colin is often fixing our split infinitives, making good puns, and whipping copy into shape so it’s no surprise that he has used his excellent skills to help a young child get through primary school. At his old house his helper stayed with her grandson and Colin was always around to help with homework, take him on outings, and help wherever he could. Colin and Gregory also often babysat when the young man’s granny needed to go out and Colin taught him to swim. Due to the PoPI act we cannot publish his name nor can we publish a photo but trust us when we say the photos are amazing! The young man looks so happy doing homework with our word nerd and the two of them look super cool laying by the pool as they take breaks between swimming lessons.

Paying for high school

ASIB, one of our partners, has put students through school (primary and high school) until Matric. Besides the fees, they also help with uniforms, books, and a few other necessities. From a business perspective, this may seem like a small fee to the larger company but it makes a huge, life-changing impact in the lives of those who benefit.

Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre

Through our friends Stephen and Bryan, who own a fabulous restaurant in Dullstroom called Mrs Simpson’s, we found out about the Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre and its work. We contribute to it monthly to assist with basic necessities. Read more here.

Soup kitchens

“My church runs a number of food drives including a soup kitchen and a sandwich drive,” says our Thabs. “I give to the church to help with various running costs as the soup kitchen – which provides food for those who do not have any in the local area – is run from the church. Folks can come to the church and have seat while enjoying a good meal.”

Whether you give through your time, your monetary contributions, or your network (as we often do) you can make a difference in the world and these are just some of the ways that we pay it forward.

How do you pay it forward and make the world a better place? Let us know on social media.

“It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” – Nelson Mandela