Change the world


Nelson Mandela University has launched a Giving Tuesday Campaign, to raise funds to tackle student hunger and provide bursaries for its postgraduate students.


Giving Tuesday is a global movement, where people are encouraged to do good. They were encouraged to donate on Tuesday, 28 November and on every other day. Every act of generosity counts and contributes to improving lives and moving towards a better world.

The Giving Tuesday Campaign is part of the University’s global Giving Campaign, which was launched on 3 July 2023, with the endorsement of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Nelson Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, said that the University is committed to changing lives through education and empowerment, but it cannot do it alone. “It needs the help of generous donors and partners to support its students who face challenges such as hunger and lack of financial aid.”

Prof Muthwa said that one of the biggest challenges the University faces is “student hunger, as many of our students come from poor families, while the province’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country. Student hunger affects one in three students, who miss at least one meal per day due to financial constraints.”

She explained that hunger can have negative effects on the academic performance of students, their health and well-being. “For example, students who experience hunger are more likely to have lower grades, higher dropout rates, lower self-esteem and higher stress levels than their peers who are food secure.” While the university distributes 1 100 food parcels to students every month, “this is not enough to meet the demand. We need more than 5 000 food parcels a month to meet the demand”.

Prof Muthwa said that R50 or $3 could fund a meal for a student for a day, or R1000 ($55) could fund meals for one student for 20 days.

Funds raised will go to the Mandela University Food Systems programme’s student hunger sub-group, which is tackling student hunger through student-centred and sustainable approaches.

Furthermore, there is a need to raise funds for postgraduate bursaries which are unfunded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Many postgraduate students struggle to finance their studies and living expenses, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Nelson Mandela University aims to be more research-intensive, meaning that we need postgraduate students who produce research which is converted into knowledge that can solve Africa’s challenges. Postgraduate students are vital for producing new knowledge, advancing innovation and developing human capital for the country.” She added that South Africa is moving towards becoming a knowledge-based economy, “which improves existing products and creates new ones, as well as driving economic growth by creating new jobs and industries”. For this it needs an educated population.

Furthermore, a postgraduate degree indicates specialisation and can also qualify graduates for higher-paying jobs that did not previously exist in the work place.

Prof Muthwa said, “As a tribute to International Giving Tuesday, which is on 28 November, help us honour our University’s namesake, former president Nelson Mandela by supporting our campaign. Support our students who face hardship and adversity, and who aspire to follow his legacy of hope and leadership.”

Prof Muthwa added, “With your donation, you will make a difference in the lives of our students and our community. You will help them achieve their dreams and overcome their obstacles. You will be part of the Nelson Mandela University family. Please join us in this campaign and give generously to change a life.”

Nelson Mandela University’s ethos is based on being in service to society, as it strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves and produce graduates who could go out and change the world. To donate, please visit Please follow us on social media using the hashtag #givingtuesdaymandelauniversity and share your stories of giving with us.

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