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May 2015 


Message from the Chief Executive:

Sello Hatang

Foundation CE Sello Hatang at last year's Habitat for Humanity week-long build in Pelican Park. The 2014 Mandela Day activity saw over 70 houses built. What are you doing to make every day a Mandela Day? 

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Nelson Mandela Foundation

In 2009 the UN General Assembly declared Madiba’s birthday on 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day, a global call to action to change the world for the better through the kind of service and leadership championed by Mr Mandela during his 67 years of service.

What does this mean in practice for you and me?

By way of an example, in July a group of volunteers from the public sector, private sector and individual changemakers (including myself) will be engaged in the Kilimanjaro Executive Challenge, a climb to the top of Africa’s highest mountain to raise funds and awareness for the Imbumba Foundation's Caring4Girls programme, which provides sanitary care for underprivileged girls across South Africa. I am also tackling this climb as a community project on behalf of the Archbishop Tutu Fellowship Programme run by the African Leadership Institute. 

Preparing for this challenge, with the plan to summit on July 18, has given me ample time to think about the true meaning of public service.

It’s been tough to find the time to train for my personal Kilimanjaro challenge in the midst of all the daily demands of work. I have had to rely on the support of my colleagues, not to mention the support of the incredible Kilimanjaro climbing team who have been behind us every step of the way.

A number of South African celebrities and media personalities have joined the Trek4Mandela initiative and are helping raise funds via public pledge lines. You can show your support by SMSing any of their names to 42513 and pledge R30. Click here to find out more about direct deposits and sponsorship for the Imbumba Foundation. 

But, really, when we consider the real challenges facing our country, then Kilimanjaro is a molehill rather than a mountain. 

Madiba’s example as a servant is one that everyone can aspire to by committing to daily actions. Not every action for Nelson Mandela Day need be something grand or heroic. Indeed, we encourage everyone to get involved through whatever action lies closest to their heart. Mandela Day is not simply an act of charity, but a commitment to achieveing sustainable improvement in your community.

Visit the Mandela Day website at and see how you can help make the world you live in a better place. 

Sello Hatang


Get involved and make every day a Mandela Day

After 21 years our democracy is coming of age, however there are many South Africans who still do not enjoy access to basic human rights, citizens who are illiterate or suffer from homelessness or hunger. These are challenges facing us.

How can you make a difference? 

The Foundation asks all South Africans to get involved, to make a substantial change that improves people’s lives, and ultimately to make a real difference. Nelson Mandela Day is not an act of charity; it is a process of driving sustainable change in communities.

The four focus areas of Mandela Day are:

• Education and literacy 
• Food security
• Shelter
• Volunteerism & participation.

Mandela Day partners help drive positive change within South Africa's communities. From left: Luvuyo Mandela (social entrpreneur), Tim Smith (Breadline SA), Sello Hatang (Nelson Mandela Foundation CE), Dr Nosipho Mngomezulu (Rhodes University), Mark Mdlela (Kaya FM) and Tshepo Ramodibe (Vodacom).

Nelson Mandela Foundation Highlights for  2015

Bringing the memory of Madiba to life

The Foundation has updated its permanent exhibition that illuminates the life and times of Nelson Mandela, and stands as a tribute to his legacy.

The original exhibition was launched three weeks before Madiba passed away in December 2013, therefore the upgrade needed to include elements that would enable visitors to glean special insight into his monumental journey and pay their respects with personal messages of remembrance. The updates include: interactive displays, a tribute portal, never seen before archival material and multimedia features that tell the story of Madiba's life. 

Members of the public are free to browse the exhibition from 9am to 4pm on weekdays, to reflect on and experience Madiba’s life and times. A trip to the Foundation's Centre of Memory makes for a great family outing and educational school trip.  

Click here to view highlights from the exhibition and click here to make a booking.

Can you identify people with Nelson Mandela in famous 1962 photo?

In January 1962 Nelson Mandela left South Africa on a secret trip through Africa and to London, to undergo military training and to garner support for the armed struggle against apartheid. His military training was undertaken in Ethiopia and in Morocco with the Algerian Liberation Front, which was fighting to free Algeria from colonial occupation by France.

Apart from Mr Mandela’s own diary of his seven-month trip, there is very little other evidence. His training by the Algerian Liberation Front is immortalised in this famous photograph. Only Mandela, in position 15, and two other people have been positively identified. They are Ahmed Ben Bella in position 5 and Agostinho Neto in position 16.

Can you identify people in this photo? Please email any names or other information about the photograph to

Leaders have betrayed the dream: On the Frontline photographic exhibition launches 

The dream that steered southern Africa’s liberation struggles has been betrayed and has driven millions of people from their home countries desperate for opportunities in South Africa. Some of those have fallen victim to violence from equally desperate South Africans who are struggling to survive in their own country.

The dream, once symbolised by regional solidarity, must be reinvented to give people a new vision to believe in something bigger than themselves.

This was the message from human rights activist and former freedom fighter Graca Machel at the launch of a photographic exhibition On the Frontline which honours the southern African countries known as the Frontline States for their solidarity in the struggle to end apartheid. Click to read more.


New exhibition remembers the cost carried in fighting for South Africa's freedom

The Foundation marked the 21st anniversary of South Africa’s freedom by hosting an exhibition that honours the role of the Frontline States. On the Frontline is a photographic exhibition that depicts the cost carried in the fight against apartheid by Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Lesotho and Malawi.

“The sacrifice of the Frontline States will be remembered by South Africans forever,” said Mandela from the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall on Sunday 11 February 1990. Madiba was painfully aware of the suffering borne by neighbouring African states due to the support they gave ANC fighters during the freedom struggle. The Frontline States frequently became the targets of the apartheid military machinery as it tried to destroy all opposition. Click to read more.

Taking Responsibility – finding sustainable solutions to xenophobia

On 7 May the Foundation used two platforms to address the challenge of xenophobia confronting South Africa: a day-long dialogue forum and the launch of the exhibition, On the Frontline.

The forum, co-convened with the Ahmed Kathrada and Hanns Seidel Foundations, comprised four sessions, with a general discussion and three theme-based ones – business, the political terrain, and the media. 

Speakers at the launch included former Speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu; Foundation Board Chairman Prof. Njabulo Ndebele; the Zimmedia curators; and Mrs Graça Machel. Click to read more.


Walk in Madiba's footsteps

A mobile app invites travellers to follow in Nelson Mandela's footsteps as they journey through the country. Titled Madiba's Journey, the app features 27 Madiba-inspired tourist attractions and sites of memory in South Africa, one for each year he spent behind bars as a political prisoner. Users can view the attractions on a map, build their own itineraries and share their journeys on social media. 

The app is free on Google Play and via the Apple app store

Race and identity in South Africa

The Foundation has been engaging in a focused way around the interlinked issues of reckoning with oppressive pasts, reconciliation, inherited societal divides, inequality, xenophobia, race and identity since 2005. This period has seen continuing dialogues on the imprints of South Africa’s past, an international dialogue series (2013-2014) enabling us to view ourselves through the lens of comparative international experience, community dialogues on xenophobia (2008-2011), and dialogues focused on the question of race in 2009, 2014 and 2015.

Recently the NMF has partnered with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in convening three focus groups on race and identity in an attempt to fashion a deeper intervention in this fraught terrain. The position paper draws heavily on these engagements, especially from the inputs provided by participants in the focus groups. Three responses (commissioned by participants) are published on the website.

Thousands heed the call of 67 Blankets for Mandela Day

As the sun rose over the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 21 April 2015, thousands of “KnitWits for Madiba” gathered to lay their blankets at the feet of Mandela’s iconic statue. A sea of colour of over 3 100 metres was spread out across the lawns, a symbol of the goodwill and humble service adopted by those who responded to the call of the 67 Blankets for Mandela Day campaign.

In 2013, Nelson Mandela’s assistant Zelda la Grange issued a challenge to philanthropist and “Arts Angel” Carolyn Steyn, to knit 67 blankets for those in need. That humble challenge has since grown into a global movement, as thousands of caring knitters from all walks of life have responded to the call to help knit 21 000 blankets this winter. Click to read more.


Trek4Mandela challenges South Africa to keep a #girlchild in school


The 2015 Trek4Mandela Executive Challenge aims to raise R40-million+ to support 270 000 girls with sanitary pads for a year, thereby ensuring that they stay in school. Every donation will help the teams realise this goal. The climb takes place between 13 and 19 July this year.

You can support the South African celebrities and media personalities who have signed up as ambassadors by SMSing any of their names to 42513 and pledging R30. *Terms and conditions apply

Help us keep Madiba's legacy alive

SMS Madiba to 42607 to donate R30 towards the work carried out by the Nelson Mandela Foundation

*Terms and conditions apply