Taking Nelson Mandela University Boldly into the Future in Service of Society
Nelson Mandela University is a new generation university, with campuses in the Eastern and Southern Cape, that is doing things differently in striving to become a dynamic African university, recognised for its leadership in generating cutting-edge knowledge for a sustainable future.
On 20 July 2017, the institution proudly and formally launched its new name and identity – becoming the only university in the world to be named after global icon Nelson Mandela. The renaming placed Nelson Mandela University firmly on the threshold of the next exciting stage of its evolution, in a trajectory that has its genesis in the institutional Vision 2020.
Birthed in 2010, the vision and strategy formulation and execution has been and continues to be about repositioning the University in South Africa, the African continent and the world – a repositioning that begins and ends with the reimagining of the academic project.
This vision enjoined Mandela University’s leadership to work relentlessly towards building a new generation, dynamic African university that is recognised for its leadership in producing cutting-edge knowledge for a sustainable future.
The hard work has, in recent years, resulted in Government granting the University permission to establish the country’s 10th medical school and in helping it establish the country’s only dedicated Ocean Sciences campus.
Both these initiatives will go a long way in enabling learners, particularly from township and rural schools and communities, to study and gain specialist qualifications in areas that were previously inaccessible and only dreamt about.
These two new ventures are set to, among other things, place the University in a substantially better position to serve the country’s development and economic growth needs as it works to establish new areas of knowledge that will in turn stimulate new ways of resolving life challenges, and spawn new professions, careers and job opportunities.
Both these ventures are anchored in innovation and transdisciplinarity, which underpin the University’s work as it endeavours to solve global challenges such as climate change, water, food and health securities as well as other environmental
sustainability issues by cutting across academic silos.
Teaching and learning, integrated with research and engagement, are the core business of Mandela University as the institution recognises that learning is intrinsic to human development. The University has embraced the philosophy of a humanising pedagogy as it addresses, underpins and advances the institutional purpose.
In line with this, the University is working to establish Hubs of Convergence, which are physical spaces where the institution meets communities to engage on common platforms to find practical solutions to problems affecting the immediate surrounding areas. These hubs will benefit from intellectual and other assets of the University as well as the conscious wisdom of those communities.
Nelson Mandela University is on a journey to rethink the kind of university it can, and should, become as an institution that must, along with others, actively contribute to the resolution of the myriad of educational and developmental challenges – doing so in line with Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
Nelson Mandela placed a good education for all South Africans at the centre of the democratic project.
At the Education Africa Presidential and Premier Education Awards ceremony in 1997, then President Mandela said: “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation … We need a system … that is geared to the realities of our country and the ideals of our people.”
This call to action, therefore, underscores the University’s long held desire to honour Mandela’s legacy of advancing education as “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
To find out more about Nelson Mandela University and what it has to offer, visit www.mandela.ac.za.