1. Schools
  2. /
  3. News
  4. /
  5. A Decade of Empowering...

A Decade of Empowering Minds: The Oxford University Press and Mandela Rhodes Foundation 15 Year Partnership

by | Jul 21, 2023 | News

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, collaborations that drive positive change and shape the future of education have never been more important. For over a decade, Oxford University Press (OUP) and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) formed an innovative shareholding partnership, pledging to promote leadership and scholarship in Africa to benefit present and future generations, igniting a shared passion for knowledge, empowerment and the pursuit of excellence. 

Since its inception in 2008, the alliance between Oxford University Press and Mandela Rhodes Foundation has flourished, creating a powerful synergy that transcends borders and impacts lives. 

At the heart of Oxford University Press’s mission lies the commitment to the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of education. We believe that education is a fundamental catalyst for progress, enabling individuals to transform their lives and contribute meaningfully to society. The partnership with the Mandela Rhodes Foundation perfectly aligns with this vision, as Mandela Rhodes Foundation shares a similar dedication to nurturing young African leaders through education and empowerment. “It is a privilege and honour for Oxford University Press to travel on this journey with the MRF as a like-minded partner who believes in the transformative power of education and who has such a profound impact on the shaping of leadership in Africa”, said Hanri Pieterse, Managing Director of Oxford University Press Southern Africa.

On 14th July, The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) hosted its 20th anniversary celebration, which took place at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. This milestone also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela, the founding patron of the foundation. The book titled “The Audacious Experiment: The Mandela Rhodes Story”, was co-authored by Shaun Johnson, the late founding CEO of the MRF and Professor Elleke Boehmer. She was supported by research assistants Iris Nxumalo-de Smidt and Makomborero Muzenda, both of whom are Mandela Rhodes Scholars. 

On 14th July, The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) hosted its 20th anniversary celebration, which took place at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. This milestone also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela, the founding patron of the foundation. The book titled “The Audacious Experiment: The Mandela Rhodes Story”, was co-authored by Shaun Johnson, the late founding CEO of the MRF and Professor Elleke Boehmer. She was supported by research assistants Iris Nxumalo-de Smidt and Makomborero Muzenda, both of whom are Mandela Rhodes Scholars. 

The panelists were introduced by Mandela Rhodes Foundation CEO, Judy Sikuza. The discussions were around the theme: “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. Hanri congratulated the editorial team of Oxford University Press, who generously published the book. Furthermore, Hanri said she was reminded by a quote by Katherine Paterson, “A dream without action is just a wish, but a dream backed by passion becomes a purpose” a common theme which is evident in the book of the purpose of delivering the Mandela promise. 

Mandela Rhodes Scholars, Iris Nxumalo-de Smidt and Makomborero Muzenda encouraged young readers to purchase the book as it highlights the power of community and collaboration and that the MRF story demonstrates how individual ideas have the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. Furthermore, through the stories of scholarship recipients, the book provides a global perspective and promotes cross-cultural understanding. It encourages young readers to embrace diversity and appreciate different perspectives in an increasingly interconnected world.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation’s was founded in 2003, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust. To date, they have selected 622 Mandela Rhodes scholars from 33 African countries through offering young leaders from across the African continent a chance to become part of Nelson Mandela’s legacy of transformative impact. Oxford University Press has had the privilege of contributing to the vital work of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation by reinvesting 25% of our profits in education, research and scholarship.

The partnership between Oxford University Press and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation holds immense significance for several reasons. Firstly, it amplifies the reach and impact of both organisations, allowing us to extend our educational resources and support to a wider audience. By working together, we leverage our collective strengths to develop innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by African communities. Secondly, this collaboration serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring generations of young Africans to pursue their educational aspirations and take up leadership roles in their respective fields. By nurturing a diverse and inclusive community of scholars, we empower them to drive positive change and transform their societies from within.

As we celebrate over a decade of collaboration, the partnership between Oxford University Press and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation stands as a testament to the power of collective action, shared vision and the pursuit of excellence. Together, we continue to pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future, where education and ethical leadership thrive. 

Latest Articles

Oxford CAPS approved

View online samples of our trusted classroom solutions and support material across all phases and subjects.

Bigger, better, brighter

and more beautiful than ever before!

Brand new editions of our popular CAPS-linked bilingual dictionaries for South African learners in Grade R to 4

360° teaching at your fingertips

The all-in-one teacher’s toolbox