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Stakeholder update: Q3 2020

Foundation News

Stakeholder update: Q3 2020

Published 30 September 2020

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Dear stakeholders

It feels timely to be writing this update in spring, an ancient metaphor for the changing of seasons symbolising that which we bid farewell to and an embracing of the new. In this quarter we have experienced great sadness as we said goodbye to Mr Achmat Dangor, a former MRF trustee and long-time contributor to our sister Mandela legacy organisations. He passed away on the 6th of September 2020 and a tribute to him can be found here. Despite this sad loss, we have experienced great joy as the team continued to make positive strides in our various goals and endeavours for the year.

Refreshed MRF branding

One of the early highlights of this quarter was the unveiling of the refreshed MRF branding on the 18th of July. We celebrated Madiba’s birthday by sharing our new logo with our community of alumni and engaged in a conversation on what it means to be part of embodying Madiba’s legacy. The refreshed branding was positively received by alumni and broader stakeholders. The refresh has provided fresh energy to our purpose and our communications efforts. See the story behind our logo here if you missed the announcement email.

Mandela Rhodes alumnus appointed to Board sub-committee

We are pleased to announce that Ms Thobela Mfeti (South Africa & UCT, 2012) has accepted a nomination to become a member of the Foundation’s Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. Thobela is an experienced investment analyst who is passionate about personal finance and financial literacy. She currently works as a Manager Research Analyst at Professional Provident Society Investments (PPSI), where she is responsible for qualitative and quantitative analysis of different investment strategies. Speaking on her appointment, she said: “This is a momentous occasion for me; it is a vote of confidence from the Foundation and an opportunity to contribute to Africa’s leadership development. I am excited to be part of the MRF’s new chapter and to contribute to its sustainability.” Learn more about Thobela here.

Thought leadership from our alumni

The third issue of Young African Magazine was published in August, looking at the theme of resilience, and how we can navigate ourselves through current and future storms. I was inspired by the stories of several alumni doing impactful work across the continent and enjoyed a piece on how complexity theory can help us deal with crises. A truly inspiring issue that encourages us to dig deep to find pathways that can lead us through to a brighter tomorrow. To request a copy, email

Beyond our printed material, increasing numbers of alumni are weighing in on timely topics on Young African Online, and I encourage you to visit the site or subscribe to keep up with Mandela Rhodes thought leadership. We have recently launched a series of #MandelaRhodesMonday live conversations on Instagram – tune in biweekly as we catch up with current and past Mandela Rhodes Scholars sharing candid and inspiring lessons from their leadership journeys.

Programme highlights

The third quarter has been a busy and rewarding one for the programmes team. The Reconciliation Workshop was held virtually in July, a historic first for the MRF especially given the complexity of the topic. Beyond participating in discussions that touched on broader socio-political topics, the modules encouraged scholars to engage with their own identities and ‘shadows’, learning that the work of reconciliation starts within. Read reflections from Gideon Basson (South Africa & SU, 2020), Fanidh Sanogo (Burkina Faso & UCT, 2020) and Merlyn Nkomo (Zimbabwe & UCT, 2020) for further insight into the scholars’ experiences.

The second year programme came to a close in August. Highlights included a masterclass on Anti-Fragility by alumnus Rachel Nyaradzo Adams (Zimbabwe & UCT, 2006) and a session with Enneagram specialist Sivan Padayachy, which deepened the enneagram work done in the first year programme.

Selections season

The MRF team has been working full steam ahead in preparation for our first ever virtual selections for our in residence programme. The three selection committees will meet in October to interview and select what will become the 17th cohort of Mandela Rhodes Scholars making up the Class of 2021.

As we head into the last quarter of this globally historic year, we wish all our stakeholders goodwill and energy as you also gear up to wrapping up the year. And that you continue to remain safe and well wherever you are.

With warm regards

Judy Sikuza


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