- About the Foundation
- About the building
- About the exhibition
- The Team
- Annual Reports and Financials
- Contact Us
About the Nelson Mandela Foundation
Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected President. On 9 May 1994, soon after our landmark election results were in, he was unanimously elected President by South Africa’s new Members of Parliament.
The next day Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was sworn in at an inauguration ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
He vowed to only serve one term as President and in 1999 he stepped down to make way for President Thabo Mbeki.
Soon after the new President was inaugurated on 16 June 1999, Mandela was on the telephone to rally his staff for new tasks ahead. They had to remind him that they no longer worked for him and so the Nelson Mandela Foundation was born. As Mandela’s post-presidential office it provided the base for his charitable work, covering a wide range of endeavour, from building schools to HIV-AIDS work, to research into education in rural areas to peace and reconciliation interventions.
Five years later the Foundation began its transition into an organisation focused on memory, dialogue and legacy work. A comprehensive refurbishment of the Foundation’s building provided it with an appropriate physical home, the Centre of Memory. The Centre was opened on 18 November 2013, three years to the day after Mandela last used the building as his office.
The Centre focuses on three areas of work: the Life and Time of Nelson Mandela, Dialogue for Social Justice and Nelson Mandela International Day. The Centre works closely with its sister organisations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation. It co-ordinates its activities with those of other institutions that have a stake in its Founder’s legacy, including the 46664 Campaign, the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, the Nelson Mandela Museum and the Robben Island Museum.
The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela:
Memory resources documenting the life and times of Nelson Mandela are to be found in an extraordinary range of locations, both within South Africa and internationally. These resources are embedded in various legal and other jurisdictions. The Centre of Memory:
- Locates, documents and promotes the preservation of these scattered resources
- Collects and curates Mr Mandela’s personal archive
- Promotes public access to these resources
- Facilitates research by individuals and institutions
- Utilises an array of information-delivery platforms to make information available to global and local audiences
Dialogue for Justice:
Dialogue is fundamental to the legacy of Nelson Mandela and to South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. Dialogue is at once a vital instrument for addressing critical social issues and the most effective vehicle for sharing memory, for growing it, and for engaging it in the promotion of justice. The Centre of Memory:
- Provides dialogical platforms for all its memory work
- Undertakes research and initiates advocacy on critical social issues impacting on its mandate
- Hosts or convenes dialogue processes
- Promotes coordination, resource-sharing and collaboration between memory institutions
- Disseminates the results and lessons learned from dialogue processes
Nelson Mandela International Day:
If the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s life and work is to be dynamic, it must be “owned” by current and future generations. It must be accessible to everyone, and applied in constantly changing contexts of time and place. The Mandela Day campaign was inaugurated as such a vehicle to achieve this. Its objective is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so, to build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. The campaign’s slogan is: “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.” Individuals and organisations are free to participate in Mandela Day as they wish. We do, however, urge them to find inspiration for their contribution in the legacy of Nelson Mandela and to adhere to the ethical framework of “service to one’s fellow human”.