Nelson Mandela Foundation

Dear Friends of the Nelson Mandela Foundation,

The past few weeks have been profoundly challenging for us. As the Chair of our Board of Trustees, Professor Ndebele, recently informed our stakeholders and friends, the Board has placed our outgoing Chief Executive Sello Hatang on special leave while it investigates complaints about his past conduct. That legal process is still underway.

While the pain we carry as an institution is intense, the work continues. As Acting Chief Executive, I reaffirm the Foundation’s commitment to pursuing sustainable solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing our society, and to do so together with you. Our work in Early Childhood Development (ECD) is making real headway in capacitating practitioners and government officials to support universal, quality ECD service delivery. We continue testing new models for the construction and maintenance of ECD centres. We are about to launch a pilot climate justice programme in partnership with Nelson Mandela University. This year’s Mandela Day campaign is positioned within the nexus of climate justice, food security and the greening of our living spaces. Our plans for an international day of tree planting on Madiba’s birthday this year are advancing well. Our archives team has provided research assistance to the authors of two just-published books – The Plot to Save South Africa by Justice Malala and Winnie and Nelson by Jonny Steinberg. They continue to make the Centre of Memory’s archive accessible to the public using cutting-edge technology and will be unveiling generative new exhibitions soon.

I don’t wish to suggest that it is ‘business as usual’. For the while, we are intentional about protecting and promoting the work Madiba mandated us to do, in good times and in bad. But we are mindful that in the months ahead it will be important to learn the lessons that moments like this offer, and to create spaces in which collective healing can take place. We trust that you will walk this path with us. Thank you for your continued support.

Warm regards
Prof Verne Harris
Acting Chief Executive, Nelson Mandela Foundation