Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Foundation’s trip to New York loomed large for us through the month of September. Our purpose was to renew old friendships, explore new partnerships, and create quality time to meet with Prime Minister Mia Mottley ahead of the 20th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, which she will deliver in November. We met with her and explored in some detail how to ensure optimal impact for her trip to South Africa. We are inspired by her energy and by her commitment to addressing effectively critical issues in a global-local nexus. We’re trusting many will take the opportunity in November to hear her speak – you won’t be disappointed!

It was also special to be invited by the New York Stock Exchange to ring the Opening Bell. Twenty years before it had been Nelson Mandela himself standing tall in that august gathering to open the day’s trading. Of course, in a moment like this one is also reminded of the Wall Street crash of 2008 and its devastating consequences for people around the world. May this moment contribute to raising the profile of the Foundation and the country as we continue to strive toward building a more equal society by giving the best opportunities to communities through education and leadership development. As we reflect on the challenges of the democratic era in South Africa, we hope this moment will reinforce the belief that democracy should not leave anyone behind. The challenge remains to build the country, and the world, of Madiba's dreams.

Back in South Africa, we moved into final planning for Prime Minister Mottley’s visit, participated in the first physical Ride4Hope ride since Covid reached our shores, and travelled to Bizana to assess progress with three early childhood development centres we have been supporting through 2022.

Interestingly, two countries have reached out to us for customised training on record-keeping and archiving for truth commissions. Both the Central African Republic and the Gambia have put such commissions in place, and are keen to learn from our experiences with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and with the establishment of Madiba’s personal archive and the records systems which support it.

Simultaneously, we have found ourselves in conversation with civil society structures on the question of the Zondo Commission’s archive. There is a growing concern that the work which must flow from the Commission – further investigations, prosecutions, and scholarly research and analysis – will be severely hampered unless the archive is turned into a dynamic and accessible public resource. If we learned anything from South Africa’s Truth Commission, it is that the burying of the archive is one of the most effective ways of turning what should have been a springboard for a range of follow-up interventions into what is effectively just a dead-end. We simply cannot afford to allow this to happen again.