Nelson Mandela Foundation

For us, the month of April was very much about implementing our plans to ensure that our work of mobilising Madiba’s legacy for a just society is sustainable in a rapidly changing world. Both global and local trends are making funding environments for non-profits more and more challenging. It becomes critical that non-profits are clear on their purpose, that they’re fit for purpose and that they’re smart in targeting funding and other forms of support.

April saw the final stages of an institutional restructuring unfold at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It has been a painful but necessary precursor to what we believe will be a new phase, a ‘smart working’ phase, in the organisation’s journey. Later this year we’ll be marking the 25th anniversary of our founding by Madiba in 1999, celebrating our achievements, reflecting on the learnings, and looking ahead to the next quarter of a century doing the work that Madiba mandated us to do. Already we’ve developed a short video message for our stakeholders and potential stakeholders articulating this ‘long journey’ sensibility.

Also, in April, we marked the 30th anniversary of the country’s first democratic election at an event in Zurich. Hosted by Rolf and Gloria Theiler and supported by Anant Singh and Videovision, this gala evening included a screening of Anant’s movie Long Walk to Freedom, a session of reminiscing about South Africa’s transition to democracy and about Madiba, and a component of fundraising for the Foundation. We’re grateful to South Africa’s ambassador to Switzerland, Sello Moloto, and former Minister Jeff Radebe for their participation and to the many friends from Switzerland and other European countries who came and demonstrated their belief in the enduring importance of Madiba’s legacy.

And now our thoughts turn to May and what lies ahead. We’ve just launched a new exhibition at the Foundation’s Centre of Memory. Shortly we’ll be unveiling an exciting new documentary film project. Our advocacy work on land moves into a new phase – more on this in the next newsletter. And, of course, the 29 May election looms large in the institution’s imagination. Our core messaging for the election is articulated in this educational video –

Also on our horizon, a little more distant than the election, is the Mandela Day campaign for 2024. Our call to action this year is: it is still in our hands to dismantle poverty and inequity. We’re encouraging all our friends and partners to take up this call and translate it into Mandela Day programming which suits their areas of focus and their competencies. A flagship Mandela Day project for Nelson Mandela University is going to be an impressively innovative training and development initiative which enables school learners and others to learn computer coding in a simple and playful way. A partnership for the university with the Leva Foundation, this project has already reached thousands of people with a critical life skill.

It’s time for all of us to be unfolding our Mandela Day plans. We look forward to hearing about them from our stakeholders. Thank you friends!