Expansion of our African Footprint

Nelson Mandela was the first commander-in-chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC).
In January 1962, Mandela secretly left South Africa and travelled across the African continent for seven months. During this time, he visited Botswana, Tanzania, Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal.


Why did Nelson Mandela make this journey

The purpose of Mandela’s trip was to seek political and financial support for the anti-apartheid struggle and training of MK recruits. Mandela’s plan was to meet African leaders, introduce the ANC and clarify its policies, and explain ANC’s strategic shift from non-violence to armed struggle. He also aimed to obtain university scholarships for young Black South Africans on the African continent and beyond.
In his Black Man in a White Man's Court speech following his conviction on the charge of incitement and for leaving the country without valid travel documents in November 1962, Nelson Mandela pointed out that travelling across the African continent ‘made a forceful impression on me. For the first time in my life I was a free man: free from white oppression, from the idiocy of apartheid and racial arrogance, from police molestation, from humiliation and indignity. Wherever I went I was treated like a human being.’

Our plan

Nelson Mandela University will follow Mandela’s 1962 footsteps in order to connect the University with the African continent and expand its African footprint.
We will forge strategic partnerships with universities in each country visited by Mandela in 1962. We will identify specific areas for engagement, research, innovation and collaboration that will allow us to work together and contribute to the socio-economic development, progress and environmental sustainability on the African continent.

Please watch this short video for more information about Nelson Mandela University’s expansion of the African footprint that follows Mandela’s 1962 travel on the African continent.





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