Nelson Mandela Foundation

I write this newsletter message from Greece, while on a visit to do fundraising and to honour the life and work of Ntatemogolo George Bizos. I was privileged to join many others at his place of birth and to participate in the international premiere of a documentary about him, hosted by the government of Greece in Kastelorizo. Our gratitude goes to Prof. John Chrysoulakis and South Africa's Ambassador to Greece, Beryl Sisulu, for making it possible for the documentary to feature at the festival. Our hearty congratulations to Jane Thandi Lipman (executive producer and co-director) and Peter Goldsmid (co-producer and director) for producing what is a highly engaging documentary relevant to our times simply titled, George Bizos: Icon. He was indeed an icon we should be inspired to emulate in our lives. One of the lines from the movie that stood out for me was when he was asked if he was losing hope in South Africa, to which he responded if he didn't lose hope during the dark days of apartheid he has no reason to lose hope now. We must continue to build the country of his dreams.

I was privileged to join many others in the country of Bizos' birth and to participate in the Beyond Borders International Documentary Film Festival where the film was played to a packed and enthusiastic audience, and was very well-received. George Bizos: Icon won Best of the Fest at the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival in Johannesburg and Cape Town in June/July 2021.

Excitement is building at the Foundation as we move into the final phases of planning for the Annual Lecture, which will be hosted at the Durban International Conference Centre on 12 November. Invitations and ticket sales will be unveiled soon. The Lecture will involve a number of first for us. Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley is the first Annual Lecturer to come from the Caribbean. This will be the first one to be held in KwaZulu-Natal. It will be the first time in which the Lecture addresses the critical issue of climate change. And for the first time the event will be ticketed, at a nominal charge. 

The funds raised from ticket sales will be reinvested in the province through our work on community gardens and tree planting. We will be giving away 10-15% of the tickets to community members, especially those affected by the recent floods. Ticketpro is our service provider for the ticketing. 

 This month we launched the third Nelson Mandela Legacy Ride4Hope, which is intended to use cycling to touch the lives of the vulnerable along the route between Soweto and Madiba’s capture site in Howick. This followed the successful departure of CycAlive from the Foundation. CycAlive is a partnership between Pace Secondary school and Torah Academy in Houghton. Both initiatives work in communities between Johannesburg and Durban, giving much needed hope to communities along the way. As we learn from the life of Ntatemogolo Bizos, fostering hope is critical if we are to change anything in our country. We would like to congratulate all the women who successfully summited Kilimanjaro as part of Trek4Mandela on Women’s Day in August. Having climbed my fifth time recently, I totally understand what it takes to do what you did. We are indebted to you for your sacrifice, and for the hope you have given those many young women who are benefitting from sanitary pad provision. We are particularly grateful to Ntate Sibusiso Vilane, who was on his 34th climb of Kilimanjaro.

May you never forget that hope is key to building a country of our dreams. But, hope without hard work won’t yield fruits we dream of. Ntatemogolo George Bizos understood this very well, that’s why he worked tirelessly until his passing. Let us commit ourselves to helping build a country free of gender based violence, xenophobia, corruption and maladministration, homophobia and all other social ills that inhibit us from growing as a nation.