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UCT receives R400m donation to construct Nelson Mandela Memorial Centre

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has received a generous grant of R400m from Atlantic Philanthropies.

The donation has enabled the construction of the proposed Nelson Mandela Memorial Centre and School of Public Governance.

The construction of the centre will be made possible through funding by Atlantic Philanthropies, as well as generous grants and pledges from a range of donors and alumni.

UCT vice-chancellor interim Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy said: “The Atlantic Philanthropies grant represents the largest single donation ever received by UCT and is a testament to the vision and impact of the project.”

Conceptualised to honour the legacy of the late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, this iconic building will be a living memorial to emulate his leadership in the best way possible: by building a new generation of ethical leaders.

Professor Reddy explained: “The proposal is to build a new home for UCT’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, and to create a vibrant convening space located within a memorial centre curated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The Nelson Mandela Memorial Centre and School of Public Governance will serve emerging leaders from across the African continent.”

The precinct, which will be designed through an architectural design competition, will offer interactive public art installations, contemplative walkways, and meeting areas designed to facilitate catharsis, reflection and spiritual resonance; and provide for reflection on the life and times of Nelson Mandela.

This partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation aligns with UCT’s Vision 2030, a vision that extends beyond South Africa to embrace the entire continent and the world at large.

The Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, Professor Faizel Ismail, emphasised the school’s commitment to building the capacity of the next generation of African leaders.

This leadership must draw on the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela and reflect the values of ubuntu while building the resilience of democratic institutions and transforming our economies to create a prosperous Africa in the 21st Century.

Acting CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Verne Harris, said: “UCT has many historical links with Nelson Mandela and with his family members. It is appropriate that a Memorial Centre associated with his name be hosted by the university, especially in association with a school dedicated to nurturing the kind of leadership which humanity needs if we are to surmount the challenges confronting us.”

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