105 Oxford Road Saxonwold Johannesburg South Africa 2196

Social Cohesion


Social cohesion refers to the extent of connectedness and solidarity among groups in society, a critical factor for national stability and development. In South Africa, achieving social cohesion has been a longstanding challenge, marred by historical inequities and ongoing socio-economic disparities. This introduction explores the roots of this failure and examines the potential role of Khulisa, a non-profit organization, in fostering greater social unity through tried and tested innovative community initiatives and systemic change.


South Africa’s struggle for social cohesion stems from its colonial and apartheid past, with enduring racial and economic disparities. Despite apartheid’s end, divisions persist, fueled by unemployment, poverty, and inequality. Recent unrest, like the 2021 riots, underscores fragile unity amid political instability and COVID-19 fallout. Challenges like land redistribution and affirmative action highlight ongoing tensions, reflecting historical grievances and contemporary politics.

Click below to Learn more about our services and how we tackle social cohesion.


In promoting social cohesion, an ecological model provides a comprehensive framework that considers risk factors at various interconnected levels, from broad societal influences to individual behaviors. Here’s how each level can impact social cohesion:

Societal Factors

Address systemic inequalities & discriminatory policies with inclusive legislation, equal opportunities, & fostering tolerance.


Improve communal spaces, local services, & community engagement to foster interaction & mutual support among diverse groups.


Build trust through reconciliation initiatives, educational programs, & community dialogues to bridge cultural divides.


Counter prejudice & apathy with education on shared identity, mental health support, & empowerment strategies for active community involvement.

Navigating Social Cohesion:
Reflections on South Africa's Challenges and Khulisa's Vision

Efforts to foster social cohesion in South Africa, including policies like the Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) and initiatives like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), have faced challenges. The RDP, while addressing socio-economic disparities, struggled with inefficiencies and corruption. The TRC documented human rights violations but was criticized for insufficient healing and reconciliation.

Contrastingly, Khulisa Social Solutions, with 27 years of experience, stands as a beacon of social cohesion. Through grassroots initiatives and collaboration with NGOs, Khulisa dismantles operational silos and empowers communities to lead change. Their programs focus on training, resources, and support, addressing inequality and empowering communities for sustainable development. Khulisa envisions cohesive communities where every individual thrives, advocating for inclusive engagement and strategic partnerships to deepen impact and create lasting positive change.

Achieving Specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

When a community operates cohesively, it tackles multiple SDGs, spanning social, economic, and environmental well-being. Additionally, fostering civic education fosters collaboration among stakeholders to dismantle silos. These goals encompass:


  • Social cohesion mobilises community resources to support the poorest, reducing poverty through shared efforts.

Khulisa Focus:

  • Empowering individuals, strengthening communities, fostering entrepreneurship.

Good Health and Well-being

  • Cohesive communities ensure access to health services and promote healthy lifestyles.

Khulisa Focus:

  • Through dialogue circles and a spirit of community ubuntu, focusing on preventive measures, access to healthcare services.


  • Socially cohesive communities ensure equitable access to quality education for all.

Khulisa Focus:

  • This led to partnership with youth@WORK to address literacy, numeracy, career guidance, and bullying through the youthPROFILER tool.

  • A digital assessment tool that teachers and parents can use to identify the strengths and weaknesses of all pupils and provide guidance to parents and teachers to help improve learning.


  • Cohesive communities work to eliminate gender disparities and empower women and girls.

Khulisa Focus:

  • Achieved by victim empowerment centres, support services, counselling, and support groups.


  • Social cohesion addresses disparities based on age, sex, race, etc.

Khulisa Focus:

  • Empowering marginalized groups, fostering inclusion, challenging discriminatory practices.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Social cohesion contributes to inclusive, safe, and sustainable cities and settlements.

Khulisa Focus:

  • Participatory urban development, infrastructure, resilience building, capacity building.

Maximising Khulisa's Impact on Social Cohesion:

Essential Strategies

Khulisa Social Solutions aims to enhance social cohesion through scaling up successful programs, collaborating with governments, fostering stakeholder partnerships, and implementing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Scaling up Successful Programs:

Expanding the reach of effective projects through empowered CBOs/NGOs to impact more communities.

Collaboration with Governments:

Aligning initiatives with national policies via civic education and government partnerships.

Stakeholder Collaboration:

Engaging diverse stakeholders to provide necessary resources and perspectives for sustainable development.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

Tracking and refining programs to ensure optimal outcomes for social cohesion.

Join Us in Collaborative Action for Lasting Impact

Collaboration is essential to address complex challenges effectively. By uniting resources, expertise, and networks, we can achieve lasting transformations and tackle societal issues more efficiently. We invite you to join us in fostering innovation and creating sustainable solutions through collective efforts, making a greater impact together than we could individually.