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How is this possible?

Free shares are possible because of BEE ownership requirements and the Tusker financial structure.

  • Nearly 25 years after the end of Apartheid, South Africa’s economy remains racially divided.
  • The SA government introduced the BEE Act in 2003 (updated in 2013) to try and transform the economy. The BEE Act requires government departments to buy services from companies based on a combination of price and their BEE score. In this way the SA government uses its immense spending power to transform the economy.
  • Transformation efforts and results are measured by BEE scorecards. Companies that want to do business with government must compete on price and BEE score. Their BEE score in turn depends on the scores of the smaller companies who supply them. In this way, BEE trickles down without ever having to be compulsory. It’s very clever.
  • Like any change, the BEE Act creates winners and losers.
  • Companies who adopt BEE fully win by having access to opportunities and large markets. Those that don’t become uncompetitive and face fewer opportunities.
  • Of the scorecards, ownership by black people is increasingly emphasised.
  • Black investors who have capital and good access to networks of ‘white’ companies stand to win. A select few (you know who) already have. However, black people without access to capital or deal-flow stand to lose out entirely. Chances are, that’s you. Until now.
  • The Ebony Network is part of the Tusker structure – an innovative way of financing BEE deals. We give potential black investors access to capital and deal-flow. Entirely risk free.
  • This means there will be a whole new set of winners and losers due to BEE.
  • The winners will register with Ebony Network and through our points system will get access to free shares in our portfolio of large, successful companies that we empower to become even more valuable. Losers will skip this opportunity and miss out on the funding and deal-flow that Tusker and the Ebony Network provide.
  • There is really one question: in 10 years time, would you rather have, say R10,000, maybe R100,000, maybe more of tradeable shares that didn’t cost you a cent because you joined the Ebony Network today? or will you skip this opportunity and watch your friends get rich while you struggle on?
  • Are you a winner? Then join the Ebony Network today, for free.


  • 1994

    South Africans of all races vote, and apartheid is over. The ANC comes to power and inherits a society and...

  • 2003

    The BEE Act is promulgated as an attempt to transform the South African economy by using the immense spending power...

  • 2013

    Substantial changes to the BEE Act are introduced, including increased emphasis on ownership and a large weighting given to companies...

  • 2015-17

    Tusker business concept is researched extensively. This covers finance, law, company valuations and capital markets. The initial team is formed,...

  • 2018

    Cyril Ramaphosa leads the ANC and evidence emerges of substantial damage done to the economy through corruption and state capture.

  • 2019

    Tusker closes deals and starts to build a portfolio of South African companies needing BEE ownership. The Ebony Network grows...

  • 2020

    Tusker lists on the JSE main board. Ebony Network beneficiaries receive their first dividends.

  • 2021-30

    Tusker adds hundreds of more portfolio companies and rapidly increases its market capitalization. Ebony Network beneficiaries receive increase dividends from...

  • 2031 onwards

    Tuskers’ impact on the economy includes 50,000 jobs created. The freeing up of R10 Billion capital from privately-owned companies and...

Frequently asked questions


There are a couple of great reasons to join the Ebony Network.

Black South Africans should join the Ebony Network to get:

  • Free shares in large, successful companies looking to improve their BEE ownership score. The shares are financed by Tusker in accordance with the BEE Act. You never have to pay for them, but the financing takes 10 years to complete. It’s totally legit.
    • As an illustrative example: say your points get you R100,000 of shares now, and that these grow in value at 10% per year. At the end of the 10 year period you’d have shares worth R270,000. You’d also earn dividends from these shares along the way (dividends are used to pay for the shares, you get what’s left but you end up owning the shares without ever having to pay for them).
    • Did we mention that you don’t have to pay for these shares? How awesome is that!
  • Business opportunities: trade with companies looking for BEE service providers.
  • Jobs: find work with companies who post job offers.
  • Learn: participate in the forums and discussion to understand more about the economy, work, finance, and BEE.
  • Grow and transform the economy: SA desperately needs both economic growth and transformation. Tusker and the Ebony Network are our attempts to achieve both. Join us to help all South Africans. Play your part in growing and transforming the economy.

White South Africans (and other people) are also welcome in the Ebony Network. They will be able to advertise business opportunities and jobs, and to learn and contribute as above. The Ebony Network is a great ‘dating service’ for companies looking to improve their BEE scores.

Click here to join the Ebony Network and get free shares in our portfolio.

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The Ebony Network matches large, successful companies looking to improve their BEE points with black people who can help them. You can think of it as a dating service for BEE.

In our daily lives at Tusker (a BEE-ownership solution), we see thousands of companies that wish to transform but struggle to find the right black investors or service providers.

We believe that the benefits of BEE ownership should be shared far more widely than the ‘usual suspects’, and that it should be far easier for companies to find black staff and service providers.

Hence Ebony Network – where black South African Citizens can find opportunities to help companies transform, and South Africa prosper.

Validation is a process to prove that you are who you say you are. This is essential in financial services and BEE.

The first part of validation happens when you sign up: you enter your email address and we send an email to that address containing a link that, when clicked, will bring you back to the site to continue with registration. This simple process validates your email address.

The second part of validation involves checking the details you’ve provided against those on record with other services (e.g. credit bureaus, social media sites, employers, etc.). This validation is required for financial services and BEE. This process is far more manual and a reasonable service charge will apply. Unless your details change significantly, we expect this to be a once-off event. More information will follow when we’re ready.

We want to transform South Africa. We want South Africa to be place for all of our children to grow up, feeling welcome, celebrating each others similarities and participating in a vibrant, growing economy.

It’s not going to be easy. But we think it’s worthwhile, and if we do it right we’ll have fun and make $$ along the way.

So here’s the vision:

Through Tusker’s BEE funding structure and the Ebony Network, we aim to have the following impact:

  • Transform the ownership of 500 ‘Generic’ (sales >R50m) companies in the next 5+ years.
  • Grow each company – creating 100 jobs in each and 50,000 jobs in total.
  • Unlock R10Bn of privately-held capital in the process; capital that can flow back into the economy.
  • Create a listed company (Ivory) worth R12Bn trading on the main board of the JSE
  • Through Ebony Network – offer millions of black people access to Tusker’s deal-flow, marketing, due-diligence and financial structures.
  • Downstream of this create another listed company (Ebony) worth R8Bn+ that will trade on the empowerment board.
  • Every Ebony Network member can ultimately become a shareholder of Ebony and will be able to trade their shares on a regulated exchange. This money can be used for anything you like at the time. A house, car, TV, holiday, healthcare, safety, education.

Join us by registering for free on Ebony Network.

Through the Ebony Network, you will become a beneficiary of The Tusker Trust, which owns 100% of the shares in Tusker Ebony, which owns shares in our portfolio of companies. These shares are paid for by a loan (from Tusker to The Tusker Trust – not you). The loan is entirely repaid by dividends following the formula (“the time-based-graduation-factor”) set out in the BEE Act. You never have to pay a cent towards these shares!

This means that at the end of year 1, 10% of the value of the shares is yours and by the end of year 10, it’s all yours. Deals we do in year 2 will work from year 2 to 11, deals in year 3 from year 3 to 12, etc.

The money you get will flow to you in the form of dividends. We also plan to list Ebony on an exchange, following which you will be able to sell your shares to other investors (or buy more if you want). The money you get from selling your shares can be used for anything you like.

We don’t know what you’d want to spend your money on in 10 years’ time, but some examples would include:

  • Education
  • A car
  • Appliances
  • Medical care for someone you love
  • A holiday to experience something new
  • Cash in the bank for a rainy day


Ebony Network is 100% legit.

Ebony Network members who are most active, including inviting new members, sharing content, participating in Ebony Network forums will receive points. Those with the most points will get the most free shares in Ebony itself. But there is no earning from people levels below you (as in multi-level-marketing) and the later members do not pay for the returns of the earlier members (as in Ponzi schemes).

We aim to transform an economy. We will do it legitimately. This isn’t easy or quick, but it’s very valuable. It will take up to 10 years for meaningful money to be made via Ebony Network, but it will happen.

You can use the ‘forgot password’ prompt from the login button. If you have lost access to your email address entirely then you will need to provide us with a copy of your ID etc and to validate this information – a small fee will apply for this process.

If your email address is going to change, please change it in advance by logging in to your account and changing it there.

The BEE Act aims to transfer ownership to previously disadvantaged black South African citizens, thus the Ebony Network opportunity is only open to South African citizens. If you do not have a South African ID number you are unable to become a beneficiary of the Ebony Network because you are ineligible to participate in BEE ownership.

Proof of ownership for shares comes in the form of a share certificate. These are digital (i.e. not printed on paper like they were last century). There is no need for share certificates until deals have been done and the beneficiaries loans have been paid off. This will be sorted out by the Trustees of The Tusker Trust and the Directors of Tusker Ebony at the appropriate time.

For now, the number of points you have earned indicates your proportional right to the free shares available through Ebony Network.

If you die, any shares you own (i.e. the portion that’s debt-free) will become part of your estate. Any points you have will be deleted as these are not transferable.

Ebony Network is a platform that aims to accelerate the transformation of the South African economy by removing the barriers to doing so.

We connect companies with ‘black’ investors, service providers and staff.

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In an non-BEE world, business owners would want cash paid to them for shares they sell, or money invested into the business to help it grow. Most simply wouldn’t sell or give up control – BEE is however a very real transactional motivator.

Companies looking to do a BEE ownership deal face many options, including:

  • Vendor finance: The reality is that most BEE investors don’t have cash. So companies often finance the deal themselves (lending money to the BEE investors so they can buy the shares – this money is then paid off by dividends).
  • Seeking investment from a ‘Black Unicorn’: there are BEE investors out there with their own money (the usual suspects) but many others have ‘white’ capital behind them. They must pay back this capital before they make any money, which means that these investors only put money into companies that are growing their value very fast. Most companies are not.
  • Complex structures: the best of these are vendor-finance arrangements in another form. The worst are outright fronting.

Tusker offers an alternative: we use the arbitrage (price difference) between public and private capital markets to fund deals. In layman’s terms we buy low and sell high. We buy shares in private companies at (fair) private market valuations, bundle these shares/earnings together in our fund, and sell the packaged earnings to investors in public capital markets for a (hopefully) far higher price. We pay for the deals using a share swap: say we buy 25% of a company for R25M – we pay for this by issuing R25M of new shares in our (to be) listed company.

The Tusker structure has many advantages over other ways of funding BEE ownership, but the environment is highly competitive and we expect stiff competition. Having a large and active Ebony Network makes us stronger, which makes deals more likely, which makes being an Ebony Network member more attractive…and so on.

Tusker is a BEE private-equity fund that finances deals through share swaps. We pay for the businesses we buy by issuing shares in our (to be) listed company, Ivory. Ivory lends each beneficiary (validated Ebony Network members) the shares to buy their portion of each deal. This loan is repaid via dividends received from each portfolio company. The loan carries a fixed term of 10 years and the repayment schedule exactly follows the time-based-graduation-factor of the BEE Act.

In effect this means that you ‘own’ 10% of the value of each share at the end of year 1 and 100% by the end of year 10.

There is no risk: if the business doesn’t generate enough earnings to pay back the loan then you still get your shares – the loan is written off by Tusker.

We can afford to take this risk because of the BEE act, the competitive position of Tusker, and because we use the arbitrage between private and public capital markets to fund our deals.

Shares are certificates that give you proof of ownership of a portion (share) of a company.

To understand how shares and stock exchanges work, we suggest reading these articles:

Or you can search for more information online if anything is unclear.

Updates will be sent to all members of the Ebony Network via this forum and our social media groups. For general updates on Tusker, please follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. We also publish new articles on our blog.

We know – offering free money (in the form of shares) immediately sounds like something dodgy.

But it’s not at all.

The BEE Act is designed to encourage companies in South Africa to sell shares to BEE investors (and thus transform the economy). Companies have to do this if they want to get business from government directly, or downstream of other companies who trade with government. Government is the biggest spender in the economy (about R800 Billion in 2018) so pretty soon BEE will affect every company.

The problem is that there aren’t many BEE investors with money. So there is an opportunity for companies like Tusker to finance deals, which we do via share swaps. The share swaps allow us to pay a fair price for the underlying shares, and the time-based-graduation-factor (in the BEE Act) allows us to ‘lend’ these shares to you with repayment in the form of dividends over 10 years. By the end of it, the shares are entirely yours, without you ever having to pay for them. Since the loan is underwritten by us and paid back by dividends only, there is no risk to you and the shares you get are entirely free…and legally so. You never have to pay for these shares, but it does take 10 years to get full ownership of them.

Tusker is 100% legit and our offer of free shares to Ebony Network members is too.

There is no limit to the number of points you can earn. Our philosophy is simple – we reward the most active members of the Ebony Network. These are the people who invite others to join, share our content on social media, and participate in the forums.

Once you have registered

  • Make sure your profile is complete and up to date
  • Invite your friends, family and colleagues
  • Follow Tusker on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Participate in forum discussions and groups
  • Useful suggestions/improvements will receive bonus points at our discretion
  • Validate your profile (coming in 2019)

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Yes. You are welcome to join and bring your friends along too.

However, you will need to be able to pay a small fee for the validation process (to be finalised in future) and you’ll need parental/guardian approval (with some legal paperwork) if your free shares start to produce dividends etc before you reach 18 years old.


The BEE Act aims to transfer ownership to previously disadvantaged black South African citizens, thus the Ebony Network opportunity is only open to South African citizens. If you do not have a South African ID number you are unable to become a beneficiary of the Ebony Network because you are ineligible to participate in BEE ownership.

The Ebony Network is an initiative of Tusker – BEE ownership and diversification solutions.

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Based on business development, regulatory approvals, and brand-building efforts in 2018, Tusker (a registered FSP) expects to close its first deals in early 2019, and ramp up quickly thereafter. Our ambition is to build a portfolio of 500+ companies, all of which would be BEE-owned and should accelerate away from their non-transformed competitors.

We have a different approach (as you can see) to deal-making and aim to conclude more (albeit highly standardised) deals per month than most funds do in their lifetime. How else will we transform South Africa?

Short-answer: Tusker will do its first deals in 2018, so dividend income should start to flow in 2019 (from the 2018 deals) and will continue growing thereafter. The deals done in 2018 will be paid off (Tusker finances the loan at no risk to you) by latest 2028. At that stage you will be able to sell your shares.

In other words, Tusker is a long-term play.

We’re a legitimate structure. The BEE act and our financing structure mean we can legitimately offer you free shares, but they take 10 years to become fully yours.

Not yet, but we plan to. We’ll post a general update when its live. Both Android and iOS will be supported.

No. The points you earn today will still be yours tomorrow, provided you remain active on the ‘network.

Active members are defined as those with an up-to-date profile (reminders will be sent annually), who have completed validation, and demonstrate reasonable participation on our forums etc. The activity requirement isn’t onerous, but is there to make sure the value of being part of the Ebony Network goes to those whose actions make it vibrant and valuable.

The cumulative points you have in Ebony Network at any time determine how many free shares (and other future benefits) you are entitled to.

Once these shares are issued to you they don’t expire. You’ll have a share certificate (electronic) and be able to trade your shares, hold them, or buy more.

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There isn’t any catch. Ebony Network offers opportunities that are 100% legitimate and legal. By joining the Ebony Network you become eligible for free shares in our portfolio. You don’t have to pay a cent for these shares, but it will take up to 10 years to own them outright – as determined by the BEE Act.

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