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Change the world


Nelson Mandela University today (3 July 2023) launched a multi-year global Giving Campaign, to raise R30 million to support four projects, based on empowerment and social redress.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa is leading the campaign with the endorsement of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, whose Mandela Month theme for 2023 is “Climate change and food security”.

Prof Muthwa explained that funds raised would go towards projects that address student hunger, bursaries, support a greenhouse project and empower sustainable community food kitchens. “We are launching this fundraising drive in the build-up to international Mandela Day on 18 July. It is an opportunity to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s most beloved statesman and global icon, someone who became the world’s moral compass.”

Prof Muthwa said the story of how Mandela, a young man born in a remote rural village, became one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century was one of overcoming hardship and never losing sight of hope. “It is a story that inspires generations of young people the world over.

“We are seeking your help to provide opportunities for thousands of young people who, because of their social circumstances, are faced with hardship and adversity.

“Who knows? With your assistance we could be nurturing the next generation of Nelson Mandelas.”

The new campaign is over and above the University’s day-to-day fundraising initiatives, which range from raising funds for postgraduate bursaries, to capital projects such as new buildings and laboratory equipment.

Globally, student numbers at universities have significantly increased. This has also been the case in South Africa. However, government subsidies to universities in South Africa have been declining in real terms, made worse by, among other factors, rising inflation and the effects of COVID-19.

“This is why all universities need to raise third stream income. It helps to maintain high quality education, as well as broaden the net to accommodate academically deserving students who cannot fund their studies,” said Prof Muthwa.

She appealed to all stakeholders to donate any amount to the campaign, “as every cent counts”.

The campaign will benefit four projects aimed at students and the broader community:

Student bursaries

The ethos of Nelson Mandela University is that no academically deserving student should be denied access to education due to their financial situation. However, not all students in need are supported by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Funds raised will support  the so-called “missing middle” students, those with historic debt and postgraduate students.

Student hunger

Student hunger is a serious threat to student success at universities. At Mandela University, more than two-thirds of our students received financial aid to study in 2022. However, the bulk of this goes to tuition and accommodation, leaving very little over for nutritional meals. The Mandela University Food Systems programme has established a student hunger sub-group to respond to this crisis.

Community kitchens

The hardship and deprivation experienced by our students is mirrored in the broader community. As part of its engagement philosophy, Mandela University has partnered with the Ikhala Trust,  to develop existing “soup kitchens” into “community kitchens”, providing much more than just meals.

Greenhouse Project

Youth unemployment is another huge challenge facing our society. Mandela University’s Centre for Integrated Post School Education and Training is supporting a group of technical and vocational education and training college graduates with a greenhouse and community food systems project, using environmentally sustainable technologies.

To donate to these projects, please go to our Giving page.


Contact information
Primarashni Gower
Director: Communication & Marketing
Tel: 0415043057