Mandela Day 2023 Giving Campaign

3 July 2023 marks the official launch of Nelson Mandela University’s Giving Campaign, in which we are striving to raise funds for four projects that aim to change lives.

We have the support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation; and are seeking your help to provide opportunities for thousands of young people who, because of their social circumstances, have faced hardship and adversity. Who knows, with your assistance we could be nurturing the next generation of Nelson Mandelas?

A message from our Vice-Chancellor


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Student hunger is a serious threat to student success at universities across the country, and Nelson Mandela University is exploring all options to address this issue.

Despite distributing 1 100 food parcels every month, the University is struggling to keep up with the need.

In response, the Mandela University Food Systems programme established a student hunger sub-group in 2022. This aims to tackle student hunger through student-centred and sustainable approaches. View more...

“More students are requesting assistance with food parcels and the demand has grown,” said Dr Natalie Mansvelt of Social Development Professions.

She said research studies over the past 10 years had confirmed that nearly one-third (30%) of South African students struggle with food insecurity on different levels.

At Mandela University, more than two-thirds of the student body of 31 747 received financial aid in 2022, with the rest either funded by their families or unfunded.

While there is no direct correlation between funding source and student hunger, unfunded students whose families are unable to provide financial support are likely to be at greater risk.

Funded students could also be at risk due to administrative errors, delayed payments or perhaps receiving funding that covers tuition but not the cost of daily living.

The distribution of food parcels to unfunded students via Student Health Services (SHS) clinics is part of the University’s response.

According to SHS deputy director, Sister Althea Hawkins, this short-term strategy provides immediate relief to students but is not meeting the current demand.

Even with additional funding, she said, SHS was still unable to supply to all unfunded students. Furthermore, those who do receive food parcels report that the hampers do not last a full month.

Before COVID-19, the Agriculture Department and Higher Health had two gardens running, and these are being actively resuscitated.

It is clear that long-term, sustainable intervention is needed to prevent over-reliance on immediate relief and donations.



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Despite Nelson Mandela University’s belief that no academically deserving student should be denied access to education due to their financial situation, there are still those who cannot take up the chance to study further.

There are many unfunded students and students in need of additional financial support, including:

  • “Missing middle” students
  • Students with historical debt and
  • Postgraduate students. 

Broadening “access for success” for these groups is an important step in the transformation of the University. View more...

It also will contribute to breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty, and to promoting greater social justice in South Africa.

However, the national drive to widen access to higher education by the government has increased the demand for funding for students who cannot be supported by statutory bodies, such as the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

While it plays a huge role in funding students across the country, NSFAS does not provide funding to postgraduate students, who are more intensively involved in research.

There is therefore a great need for financial support for postgraduate students, particularly for financially needy final-year students whose dream is to go on to an honours or further degree.

Certain career fields also require advanced and further qualifications, which has an impact on NSFAS-funded students.

It also does not cover the so-called “missing middle” students, where their household income is too high to qualify for NSFAS funding but not high enough to comfortably afford tertiary education.

In addition, some students carry over historical debt from previous years, which prevents them from graduating or receiving their certificates on completion of their studies. This becomes a challenge as they cannot gain employment without their certificates. 

A donation to Nelson Mandela University’s bursary and scholarship programme is not only building a better future for these students, it also is building the future of the nation.



Donations in support of the University in Service of Society:



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The Greenhouse Project is designed to assist the co-operative members to apply their developing skills as plumbers, builders, and electricians, through eco-conscious design. The first element of the project is conceived as a pilot and learning project for the co-operative, both in terms of construction skills and of cooperative management. View more...

A young cooperative of PE College engineering graduates is looking for funding to build community managed greenhouses for seedling production with eco-conscious materials.

Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Integrated Post School Education and Training (CIPSET) is working with the group of TVET college graduates on the greenhouse and community food systems project.

A group of seven formerly unemployed youngers make up Green Technologies Engineering Cooperative – GreenTEC – which is the implementing organisation for the project.

CIPSET’s role is to provide mentoring support to GreenTEC, and to community farmers across the metro.

CIPSET researcher, Irna Senekal, said the action research project aimed to help the TVET team apply developing artisanal skills through eco-conscious design.

So far GreenTEC has completed a number of plumbing, maintenance and installation jobs in schools and private homes in Nelson Mandela Bay, including retrofitting lights for energy efficiency. 

The main benefits of the project are support for cooperative members to develop and apply their skills in green construction, plumbing and electrification, and mentoring to strengthen their policies and systems.

An additional benefit is the focus on seedling production with community food producers.

This will support local food production and contribute to eco-consciousness and climate change resilience. Until now, seedlings have been bought from commercial producers. 

Initially, this greenhouse and community food systems project will serve community food producers associated with the Zwide Development Forum. Later, depending on funding, it hopes to serve across the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.



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Nelson Mandela University has partnered with the Ikhala Trust, a non-profit community grant-maker and development incubator in the Eastern Cape, to develop Community Kitchens.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ikhala identified existing “Soup Kitchens” with the purpose of them becoming “Community Kitchens”, which provide much more than just mealsView more...

“We continue to work with four of the six initially identified community kitchens and we would like to continue what we started with the Moeggesukkel CK in Kariega, Yizani Sakhe CK in Wells Estate, and Kuyga CK in Greenbushes,” says Ikhala Trust director Bernie Dolley. 

Ikhala Trust staff member Unathi Meslani has seen a ripple effect of the collaboration.

“The Community Kitchens manage the big community garden, and this can inspire people to see the benefit of having their own backyard garden, where your neighbour is looking at what you are able to produce,” said Meslane.

The Kuyga food garden, for example, has expanded, and the University’s Hubs of Convergence enabled the purchase of a JoJo water tank for this site. Beetroot, spinach, spring onions and broccoli were recent harvests.

In Wells Estate, the Yizani Sakhe CK has learnt the skill of loom mat making and sells beautiful woven mats.

Its reading club at the local primary school is continuing with a Funda ambassador from Yizani Sakhe who is working with the school. Members have also encouraged households to start their own gardens and they now require seedlings for these square metre gardens.

The Moeggesukkel group received permaculture gardening training, seeds, and a JoJo tank from the Interchurch Local Development Agency. 

The Ikhala Trust’s signature programme is Asset Based Community Development which takes stock of all the financial, social, natural, physical, and human assets that already exist.

“This acknowledges that no person or community has nothing and helps to build the confidence of individuals and partners to appreciate what they are able to do,” said Dolley. 

“We not only provide small grants to qualifying community partners but also mentor and accompany them on their development journey to achieve their objectives.”

Supporting the Nelson Mandela Food Systems project therefore means far more than providing food for a family.



Friends of The Nelson Mandela University Trust

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Donations in The United States

Residents of The United States can make a tax-deductible donation, where applicable by law, to the Nelson Mandela University via the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS) which facilitates secure, tax deductible donations to foreign nonprofit organisations.

There are three options for friends in The United States to donate to the Nelson Mandela University:

  1. Online Gifts by credit card: On our secure Friends of Nelson Mandela Trust Page.
  2. Gifts by check: Kindly address your check to KBFUS (write Friends of the Nelson Mandela University Trust in the memo section of the check) and send it to KBFUS at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10020.
  3. Gifts by wire transfer or contributions of other types of property: Please contact KBFUS via email at or phone (212) 713-7660.