Celebrating our 15-year partnership with the Mandela Rhodes Foundation 

27 July 2023
3 min read

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) marked their 20th anniversary this year, and we celebrated the ways in which our partnership supported the development of leadership and scholarship in Africa to benefit present and future generations. 

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation 

Founded in 2003 in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, the MRF offer young leaders from across the African continent a prestigious postgraduate scholarship and a Leadership Development Programme. To date, 622 Mandela Rhodes scholars from 33 African countries have received this scholarship. 

We’ve had the privilege of contributing to this vital work by reinvesting 25% of our surplus from our publishing in Southern Africa into their programme of education, research and scholarship. 

This partnership stands as a testament to the power of collective action and a shared vision,. Together, we continue to pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future, where education and ethical leadership thrive. 

A 20-year Legacy 

The MRF marked its 20th anniversary with a series of inspiring events including the launch of the book titled The Audacious Experiment: The Mandela Rhodes Story. The anniversary coincided with the 10th anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela, the founding patron of the Foundation.

The book, published by OUP South Africa on 14 July, was co-authored by Shaun Johnson, the late founding CEO of the MRF, and Professor Elleke Boehmer. The book speaks to the founding story of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and features past scholars and their impactful contributions to Africa’s development. You can view the e-book here. 

To celebrate this milestone, a gala took place on Saturday 15 July, featuring a special performance by the Ndlovu Youth Choir. Our colleagues from OUP South Africa were among the 400 attendees. 

The evening included a panel discussion which explored the book and the process of its creation. The panelists were introduced by the MRF CEO, Judy Sikuza. The discussions were around “The courage to be unpopular: lessons on leading in complex times”, as a way of bringing Nelson Mandela’s leadership legacy to life in the present moment. 

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