Mandela centenary project to raise R100m for jobs, youth literacy

Cape Town – Two of former president Nelson Mandela’s granddaughters and the Nelson Mandela Library Project have teamed up with metals mine South32 and the Relate Trust to raise R100m for job creation and youth literature.

The project is in honour of what would have been Mandela’s one hundredth year. 

The drive to raise R100m will be spurred on, among other things, by the sale of commemorative bracelets in honour of Mandela. This is part of the Mandela Centenary campaign, launched earlier this year, in partnership with Mandela's granddaughters Zaziwe Manaway, Swati Dlamini-Mandela as well as the Mandela Library Project.

The globally revered struggle icon-turned-statesman has already been honoured with a new series of South African Reserve Bank notes and coins.

The pledge from Mandela's granddaughters and their project partners comes as Statistics SA announced that the unemployment rate in the country has climbed to 27%, meaning 6.1m South Africans are unemployed.

The number rises to 9m if one considers the 2.9m South Africans that have given up looking for a job.

A report emerged this year that showed 78% of South African Grade 4 children were not able to reach the lowest benchmark in terms of reading ability, compared with 4% internationally, leaving a huge gap in the country’s bid to build skills among youth for the fourth industrial revolution.

The Mandela Library Project says each library typically services 1 000 children per year, with the library being active for at least 15 years. The libraries are also open to the surrounding communities and provide valuable resources for teachers.

The drive includes South32 [JSE:S32] and non-profit social enterprise the Relate Trust. South32 Chief Operating Officer, Mike Fraser, said that the Mandela Centenary initiative supported the company’s commitment to making a difference in communities.

"Every year our people come together to help alleviate poverty by taking time out to serve and assist various charitable organisations in our communities. We are proud to support this cause which makes a difference and improves lives now and for generations to come, by giving our employees a gift that honours Nelson Mandela’s centenary," said Fraser.

Relate CEO Neil Robinson said: "This R100m goal is a big one, but having the backing of big businesses such as South32 makes it that much more attainable.”

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