Change the world


Planting trees, nurturing gardens, cleaning the environment, supporting others and ultimately building relations towards addressing many challenges are all part of the institution’s efforts during Mandela Month.

The key focus this year in living the legacy of Mandela in partnership with Nelson Mandela Foundation and many others is a series of “transect walk dialogues” (TWDs).  These walks, led by the respective communities and followed by conversations, are aimed at understanding challenges and seeking solutions together.

In addition, many staff and students participated in specific Mandela Day events, like organised labour NTEU, whose members visited two life-changing organisations in Gqeberha  ̶  the Isithembiso Babies’ Home and the EP Child and Youth Centre to support them in their work.

All the TWD events sought to recognise the intersection between climate change and food insecurity, and were anchored in the tagline “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.

TWD 1: Mvezo, Transkei – Saturday, 16 July

This walk at Mvezo village, the birthplace of the late Nelson Mandela, was hosted by Chief Mandla Mandela (see adjacent pic) to identify various community assets while also engaging on the challenges faced by those living in the area.

The walk took in the Mandela School of Maths Science & Technology and the many initiatives underway at the school.

The University is already working with the Mvezo community to co-create solutions, particularly from an education perspective.

Additionally, as part of TWD 1, staff travelled to Cala for the "One Million Trees: A Rural Focus" celebration.

The event, a collaboration with iKhamvelihle Development Trust and the Centre for the  Community School, was centered around four schools, Mnxe, Guata Primary Schools and Cala Village and Batandwa Ndondo High schools. The tree planting ceremonies (see pic below) were followed by a commitment from various stakeholder-communities to actively engage climate change and food insecurity.

TWD 2: Zwide, Gqeberha – Monday, 18 July

After a march by members of sports and social clubs and the welcome formalities, visitors split up into groups to visit and work at four different sites in Zwide.

The focus on three sub-themes: fruit and indigenous tree planting, community and home gardens and positive climate action saw visitors roll up their sleeves, plant trees, clean and garden. The tree planting in Zwide and elsewhere forms part of the Mandela Foundation’s objective of planting a million trees throughout the year.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Andre Keet was among the hundreds of people who participated in the day-long event that culminated in a discussion among community members and the many partners.

TWD 4:   Rolihlahla, Missionvale, Gqeberha – Tuesday, 19 July 


This engagement – with its theme of “from segregation to collaboration for sustainability” – took place in the informal housing settlement of Rolihlahla, near the Missionvale Campus.

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Nelson Mandela Foundation, an MOU was signed and two new academic programmes – a Master’s in Human Settlement and a Higher Certificate in Human Settlement Development – were launched.

Again, fruitful discussions were held in line with all parties’ commitment to being in the service of society.

The third Transect Walk Dialogue (TWD 3) will take place on 13 August, with a focus on climate change and zooming in on the prevailing water crisis in the Nelson Mandela Metro area. The Mandela Month activities will culminate in a Herald Community Dialogue, at which themes emerging from the community engagements will be discussed.

View our gallery of images from our Mandela Month celebrations


Photo credit: Nelson Mandela Foundation 

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057