As we celebrate Mandela Day on the 18th of July, a day to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former President, and his values, through volunteering and community service. CC&A is proud to support and be brokers for the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
The foundation’s mission is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa. They find, fund, and empower young Africans who aspire towards the kind of leadership that Nelson Mandela embodied: leaders who can bridge historic divides and who use their talents for the betterment of their societies and our continent.
The foundation was founded in 2002 by Professor Jakes Gerwel and Dr John Rowett. Professor Gerwel was the Chancellor of Rhodes University in South Africa and a Trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and Dr John Rowett was the CEO of the Rhodes Trust. Dr Rowett was visiting South Africa to attend meetings and to explore possibilities to mark a centenary of the world-renowned Rhodes Scholarships. Cecil Rhodes made his fortune in Southern Africa, and when he died in 1903 he left it in a Trust that established the Rhodes Scholarships. Professor Gerwel and Dr Rowett began to consider what it might mean to begin a new century with a partnership between the Rhodes Trust and the man who embodied South Africa’s new era of freedom – Mr Nelson Mandela. The Rhodes Trust approached Mr Mandela with an idea for a partnership: to return some of Mr Rhodes’ wealth to South Africa and Africa in a symbolic act of reconciliation and reparation.
Mr Mandela agreed to co-found the MRF with the Rhodes Trust. In becoming the Founding Patron he was fully conscious of the tension between his own life and legacy and that of Cecil John Rhodes. Rhodes was an imperialist and a pioneer of the mining industry in colonial South Africa. For Southern Africans, Rhodes’ name is linked to some of the harshest realities of colonial rule. Mr Mandela proceeded with the partnership because he deeply believed in – and stood for – setting aside ideological differences to pursue right outcomes. The partnership with the Rhodes Trust underlined Mr Mandela’s message and approach of reconciliation and reparation– of taking hands across historic divides that others may deem unbridgeable.
The Mandela Rhodes partnership is a reminder of the responsibility of all parties to participate in repairing the damage of colonial times and rebuilding a new and more just society of equal opportunity for all. The injunction to come together across historic divides is written into the preamble to the South African Constitution. When Mr Mandela was asked about the partnership with the Rhodes Trust, he would simply refer to and reiterate it. The preamble enjoins us to ‘heal the divisions of the past, and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice, and fundamental human rights, and to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.’
Information courtesy of https://www.mandelarhodes.org/
Apart from being brokers to an amazing foundation, the CC&A team will each being doing their part in uplifting the community and helping those in need on Mandela day and we hope all our fellow South Africans will be too. We are all in this together!