Building exceptional leadership in Africa

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Purpose and Vision


The central purpose of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa (whilst also seeking to foster better reconciliation and entrepreneurship) through its various programmes and, to this end, aims to be the leading protagonist in Africa for such endeavours.

We do this in the firm belief that, in the words of our Founder and Patron, Mr Nelson Mandela, “…the work of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation will substantively contribute to a better life for the people of South Africa and further abroad on the African continent…”

The Mandela Rhodes programmes will develop leadership and vocational capacity across African society, to help the continent achieve success and prosperity and full equal participation in the global world. They will constitute ‘History At Work’, extracting from past legacies to help Africa succeed in the 21st century. The Scholarships Programme will be the main focus for the foreseeable future.


Whilst in pursuit of this vision, we recognise that we have a variety of stakeholders with different needs and expectations. The Mission that The Mandela Rhodes Foundation undertakes for each of these stakeholders is as follows;

For the donors, who empower and endow the MRF, we endeavour to provide an efficient and professionally managed and governed enterprise which serves as the vehicle and conduit to deliver the jointly-desired social impact indicated by our vision and purpose.

For the Scholars and other programme participants, we strive to support and build the leadership and intellectual capacity that is needed in order for the MRF to have the kind of social impact that we seek to attain in our vision.

For the communities, from whom we source our Scholars and for whom we ultimately seek to deliver social benefit, the MRF undertakes never to forget the purpose for which we exist and, in so doing, we pledge to work tirelessly and with accountability so as to maximise the impact that we seek to enable through those whom our programmes empower.

For our related charities and Foundations (e.g.: The Rhodes Trust, the other ‘Mandela’ Foundations), with whom we share common heritage, we strive to act collaboratively as needs be and in ways that mutually enhance our respective endeavours and build our collective reputation.

For the staff who work on delivering the outcomes of the MRF, we strive to offer an inspiring and rewarding opportunity for them to be key players in the delivery of that enabling work that is needed to bring the lofty objectives of our vision into being.

The Trustees of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation
Cape Town, South Africa, 2005