Sanlam and takalani sesame

Partnership in Brief

A collaboration fueled by a courageous commitment to kids

Sanlam’s Objectives

A financial-services company with deep roots in South Africa, Sanlam believes passionately in its duty to enrich the lives of all the country’s citizens. This social mission led them to the cause of early childhood education— a critical need in a country where only 1 in 10 children have access to formal preschool. In 2000, Sesame Workshop’sTakalani Sesame program became Sanlam’s central project –– a chance to build a brighter future for South Africa by uplifting kids.

Why Sesame Street?

In a large, culturally diverse country such as South Africa, Takalani Sesame is a unifying force. With its lovable cast of Muppets and emphasis on literacy, numbers, health, and life skills, Takalani spreads the benefits of education to all South African children, urban and rural, irrespective of race.

The program reaches nearly 70 percent of kids in cities and just under half in rural areas. And when children watch, they grow up smarter, showing gains across all areas of learning. Read more about Takalani Sesame.

Partnership Components

Over 10 years, Sanlam and Sesame Workshop have forged an alliance unique in the philanthropic world, guaranteeing the sustainability of Takalani Sesame and the benefits it brings to South African children and their families.

With courageous support from Sanlam, Takalani is making history. The show features the world’s first curriculum for children’s television around HIV/AIDS, an epidemic that touches all South Africans, yet remains tricky to talk about. While fighting the stigma of AIDS comes with challenges, Sanlam understood the need for openness when facing a disease spread by silence. Said one executive: “It’s not if we can help, but how.”

Sanlam’s commitment includes funding for broadcasts, community events, educational publications, and workshops for parents and caregivers. What began as a purely philanthropic venture has proven a wise investment. The association with Takalani has given a face to Sanlam’s social efforts and added to its image as a company that cares for all South Africans, a fact borne out by market research.

The show and the company have become virtually synonymous in the minds of South Africans. Thanks to Sanlam, a whole generation is growing up with the educational foundation to excel. That’s a legacy few companies in the world can claim.


  • 2 million children watch Takalani Sesame, reaching 70% of children in urban areas and just under 50% in rural ones. 1 2
  • Takalani is Among the most successful HIV/AIDS awareness programs in South Africa ever, not just among kids but the entire population, with nearly 23 million teens and adults aware of the show’s messages and efforts.3
  • An in-house study states that the sponsorship has contributed “hugely” to Sanlam’s image as a caring company.4
1 2003 A.C. Nielsen Study on Takalani Sesame & International Census Data: K3-9 Audience Estimation.
2 Takalani Sesame Impact Report. (2005).
3Nelson Mandela Foundation. (2005). South African National HIV Prevalence, HIV Incidence, Behavior, and Communications Survey & 2011 International Census Data: P12+  Audience Estimation
4 Sanlam in-house brand review, 2005–2006.
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