Media opportunity to foreground solutions to poverty and inequality

The Mandela Initiative, under the auspices of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, has partnered with the News24 platform, Project Rise, to raise awareness and debate about issues related to poverty, unemployment and inequality. Project Rise provides a platform for “a solutions-focused discussion about the future and what we want to become” (Project Rise, About us). Having started during the #FeesMustFall period two years ago, the portal accepts written or video contributions that reflect on proposed solutions. Project Rise has a particular interest in the five major themes that framed the Initiative’s work: social cohesion, health, education, labour and rural and urban renewal. This platform provides an excellent opportunity to reach a mass public audience and we encourage our contributors (and their networks) to make use of this opportunity to feed into the public discourses on poverty, unemployment and inequality.

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"After migrant labour" workshop

27 & 28 September 2017

Leading scholars gathered for this workshop to take forward a joint initiative started earlier this year by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Mandela Initiative to explore the legacies of migrant labour in South Africa. The purpose of the workshop was to finalise contributions to a new book that will be published in 2018 by the HSRC Press on the consequences and legacies of the migrant labour system for the country’s development. As this system had significant implications for the nature of family formation, the book dovetails with the focus area of families in the Mandela Initiative. The workshop was run by Professors Leslie Bank (HSRC), Dorrit Posel (Wits University) and Francis Wilson (University of Cape Town/Mandela Initiative).

More about the first workshop


Intersectoral action to reduce violence against children in South Africa

22 & 23 May 2017

A week before Child Protection Week 2017, the Mandela Initiative action dialogue series brought together government, academic and civil society representatives to facilitate agreement on joint actions to reduce violence against children and break the intergenerational cycle of violence in South Africa. The event was part of an ongoing multi-sectoral process to help inform government’s programme of action to reduce violence against children. It was hosted in partnership with the Children’s Institute and the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI), both at the University of Cape Town, along with UNICEF South Africa and the national Department of Social Development.

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Community of Practice workshop

8 – 9 May 2017

A Community of Practice must be strategically aligned to government policies aimed at addressing key social challenges and problems. Such a community has emerged through the Mandela Initiative’s research programme funded by the National Research Foundation and led by recipients of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), an NRF and Department of Science and Technology partnership. With the MI’s research reaching fruition this year, these SARChI Research Chairs hosted a two-day Community of Practice workshop in May to discuss the research results and debate their policy implications with key actors from relevant government and non-governmental agencies.

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The Mandela Initiative in a nutshell

November 2016

Four years ago, the conference “Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality in South Africa” was hosted by the University of Cape Town (UCT). This was no ordinary conference confined to the ivory towers of academia: it linked, in a meaningful way, academic experts with government officials, non-profit organisations and church leaders. Importantly, it did not end with a conference report. Instead, the five-day event heralded the beginning of a process to connect minds and practices aimed at shifting the country’s poverty and inequality challenges. This is its story to date.

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Think Tank for strategic guidance

November 2016

The Mandela Initiative (MI), while administratively located at the University of Cape Town (UCT), is a collaboration by a diverse range of role-players who are concerned with efforts to shift the country’s persistent high levels of poverty and inequality. In 2014, a Think Tank of prominent individuals from government, business, academia, civil society and organised labour was set up to provide strategic leadership and guidance in constituting and driving the MI research programmes, action dialogues and other work. This article outlines the thinking behind the Think Tank.

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Action dialogues for collective strategies

November 2016

One of the three pillars of the Mandela Initiative (MI) is the regular and inspiring gatherings of experts on particular problem areas that need to be addressed to help shift poverty and inequality in South Africa. These “action dialogues” are unique in that they link the empirical knowledge of academics with the practical knowledge and experiences of those involved in “on-the-ground” initiatives by civil society and government, be it at local, provincial or national level. This article reflects on this powerful approach to share, learn and act collectively.

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Evidence-based policy research

November 2016

One of the key outcomes of the 2012 conference that launched the work of the Mandela Initiative (MI) – then called “Towards Carnegie3” – was to identify a set of thematic areas central to breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa. This process was informed firstly by the over 300 papers from 19 of the country’s universities, and evidence from practice, presented at the conference. The final research themes and further research questions were carefully crafted with the help of some of the leading academics in poverty and inequality in the country, as this article explains.

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Mandela Initiative to multiply its reach with NMF partnership

November 2016

Central to the Mandela Initiative approach are collaborations and partnerships around the common goal of investigating and developing innovative strategies to overcome poverty and inequality in South Africa. Key to this endeavour is the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), a non-profit organisation focused on memory, dialogue and legacy work, founded by Nelson Mandela himself. The Foundation joined the initiative as a key partner in 2015 and, to reflect this association, the initiative’s name was changed from “Towards Carnegie3” to the Mandela Initiative. The MI communication manager, Charmaine Smith, spoke to the NFM CEO, Sello Hatang, to find out more about their role in the initiative.

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New web tool to track status of youth

November 2016

Across South Africa’s 278 municipalities, newly-elected local government officials are expected to settle on a five-year plan for development in their area, known as the Integrated Development Plan. Aimed at improving the quality of life for all people in an area, the plan must consider current conditions and problems and provide a framework for, amongst others, what services and infrastructure are needed. South Africa’s youth are a constituency who require particular support in the interest of development, and planning for their needs has to be a key concern for government. Now, a new interactive web tool that can assist local government to take stock of and track the status of youth has been piloted in the Western Cape. It has potential to help inform comprehensive policies and interventions to support youth development and social inclusion.

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Press statement: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

17 October 2016

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed across the world on 17 October each year. This United Nations day, commemorated since 1993, is devoted to presenting and promoting concrete activities aimed at the eradication of poverty and destitution, which are necessary for building a sustainable future. Our press statement in honour of this day highlights that this is undoubtedly a critical cause to place at the core of all efforts to contribute to South Africa's growth.


Social Cohesion in the Karoo (UFS)

August 2016

The issue of social capital, social networks and social cohesion has increasingly come to the fore as a key factor in understanding socio-economic development and poverty alleviation. Poverty is very often overcome, or at least made manageable, by social networks, whether in families, kinship groups, ethnic groups, faith-based groups, or relationships with employers, officialsand politicians. Calling on one’s social networks is often a critical dimension of economic survival.

The purpose of the workshop was to identify critical new insights which can inform policy and interventions in future.


DST and NRF Support the Carnegie3 Initiative

May 2015

Supporting the Carnegie3 Initiative, the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation May 2015 awarded a grant of R7 million to support the research being undertaken by the Initiative. Specifically, this funding was leveraged to expand the existing research programmes of 9 DST-NRF South African Research Chairs to include a broad array of national researchers and to focus directly on informing key policy interventions.

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Carnegie3 Think Tank Established

December 2013

Following the successful launching conference of the C3 Initiative, Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality in 2012, a Think Tank consisting of more than 30 of the country’s influential individuals was constituted to take forward the work identified through the conference process.

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Towards Carnegie3: Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality Conference

September 2012

In September 2012, over 500 people gathered at the University of Cape Town for a five-day conference entitled, “Towards Carnegie3: Strategies to Overcome Poverty & Inequality”. The conference launched the Carnegie3 Inquiry, at the request of the National Planning Commission, by bringing together academics, government officials and members of civil society organisations to share ideas and models for effective action in keeping with the goals spelt out in the National Development Plan, notably the elimination of poverty and the significant reduction of the current levels of inequality.

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