Nelson Mandela University is committed to changing lives through education and empowerment. But we cannot do it alone. We need your help to support our students facing challenges, such as hunger and lack of financial aid. That is why we launched the #GivingMandelaUniversity campaign this November, together with Giving Tuesday on the 28th and into the season of giving throughout the remainder of 2023. Your donation will make a difference, helping our students and community to achieve their dreams. And you will be part of the Nelson Mandela University family. Please join us and give generously to change a life.



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Student hunger is a serious threat to student success at universities in South Africa, and Mandela University is no exception. According to the University’s Fast Facts, the student headcount for 2023 was 30 297 and despite distributing 1 100 food parcels every month, the University is struggling to keep up with the need.

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In response, the Mandela University Food Systems programme established a student hunger sub-group in 2022, which aims to tackle student hunger through student-centred and sustainable approaches. Some of these approaches include developing community kitchens, greenhouse skills development projects, and bursaries and scholarships for academically deserving students who face financial challenges. The #givingtuesdaymandelauniversity campaign is part of the Mandela Day 2023 Giving Campaign, with the endorsement and support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to raise funds for these projects and to provide opportunities for thousands of young people who aspire to follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela. View more...

At Mandela University, 68% of 31 747 students receive financial aid in 2022. This means that about 10 000 students are unfunded. While there is not a direct correlation between funding source and student hunger, it can be deduced that unfunded students are at a great risk of student hunger when their families are unable to provide financial support to their student children due to poor socio- economic circumstances. Additionally, funded students are also at risk. This is due delayed fund transfers or receiving funding that covers tuition, but not means for daily living.

Hunger is a serious issue that affects many students at Nelson Mandela University. According to a recent survey conducted by the Student Affairs Department, about 30% of the students reported skipping at least one meal per day due to financial constraints. This has negative impacts on their academic performance, health and well-being. The university has implemented some initiatives to address this problem, such as providing food vouchers, establishing food banks and gardens, and partnering with local organizations and donors. However, more needs to be done to ensure that no student goes hungry on campus. The university calls on all stakeholders and friends of the University to join hands in finding sustainable solutions to this challenge.

  • A balanced diet that provides adequate calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fibre can support students' health and learning outcomes.
  • A poor diet that is high in sugar, salt, fat, and processed foods can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions that can impair students' health and learning outcomes. Food insecurity is a serious and widespread problem that affects millions of people around the world. It refers to the lack of reliable access to sufficient and nutritious food for a healthy life.

Food insecurity can have many negative consequences for individuals and communities, such as malnutrition, poor health, lower productivity, and increased vulnerability to shocks and disasters. One of the less known but equally devastating impacts of food insecurity is its link to sexual violence.

As little as $3 or R50 can provide a meal for a student in need.
Please pledge today and help us reach higher than hope!



Raising funds for bursaries for the University’s missing middle group is a strategic investment in the future of South Africa and students who have the talent, ambition and resilience to succeed, but lack the financial means to do so. Strengthen our University’s quality and reputation through giving and gratitude among its alumni, staff, and stakeholders. 


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Therefore, we urge you to join us in this campaign and to donate generously to this worthy cause. Defining the ‘missing middle’:  financial aid for students who fall between the cracks of the higher education funding system. These are students who are too poor to afford tuition fees, but too rich to qualify for government grants or loans. They often face the risk of dropping out or accumulating debt. Offering missing middle bursaries are a way of supporting these students and ensuring that they can access and complete their studies.   View more...

Furthermore, there is a growing and significant need for postgraduate bursaries which are unfunded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).  Typically, these bursaries include the Honours degree, Advanced Diplomas and Postgraduate Diplomas which enables undergraduates to proceed to higher levels of qualifications i.e., Masters and Doctoral degrees.  By supporting students to attain these postgraduate qualifications, we are enabling them to attain their full academic potential and optimally contribute to society and the development of the economy.  




Ways to Give

For South Africans:   Ways to give - Nelson Mandela University

For American (or Global) Citizens:  Donate to Nelson Mandela University Trust (

Contributors will know that they add to changing a life, the public good and the transformation of South African society.
Residents of the United States can make a tax-deductible donation,where applicable by law, to the Nelson Mandela University via the Nelson Mandela University Trust - which facilitates secure, tax- deductible donations to foreign nonprofit organisations.
Donations in South Africa though the PayGate portal are eligible subject to certain criteria for a Section 18A tax certificate and/or B-BBEE certification that the beneficiaries of the funding are Black South Africans as defined in the B-BBEE codes.



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