The Mandela Rhodes Foundation


The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, a leadership development programme for Africa, was established in 2003 by agreement between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Rhodes Trust. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, a leadership development programme for Africa, was established in 2003 by agreement between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Rhodes Trust.

Its principal activity is to offer Mandela Rhodes Scholarships to African students undertaking postgraduate study in South African universities, alongside further leadership development opportunities for Mandela Rhodes Scholars.

In helping to form The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, the Rhodes Trust desired to mark the centenary of its foundation by a significant gesture of investment in South Africa, which had been the original source of its own endowment. The Trust wished also to mark the transformation of South Africa by honouring the principal architect of that transformation, Nelson Mandela. In this way, the Rhodes Trust signaled its own sense of the evolution of its mission over time but in line with the principles of its founder.

The objectives are stated as: 'The central purpose of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa through its programmes. The Mandela Rhodes programmes will develop individual human skills across African society, to help the continent achieve success and prosperity, and full participation in the global world. The Mandela Rhodes programmes will be unique, measurable, sustainable and economically efficient.'

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation contributes to leadership development in Africa through supporting African students undertaking tertiary study in South Africa. A number of Mandela Rhodes Scholars have subsequently been selected as Rhodes Scholars; for a list, click here.

Individual Rhodes Scholars, as well as the Rhodes Trust, have made generous contributions to support the work of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, including through the Friends of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (USA) or directly to The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

Below is a short film about The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, and its achievements over the past decade:


The Mandela Rhodes Foundation was established in 2003 by agreement between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Rhodes Trust.The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees

  • Professor Njabulo Ndebele (Chairman)
  • Mr Charles Conn
  • Dr John Hood
  • Dr Mo Ibrahim
  • Mr John McCall MacBain
  • The Hon Mrs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
  • Justice Yvonne Mokgoro
  • Mr Julian Ogilvie Thompson

The Chief Executive of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is a Rhodes Scholar, Shaun Johnson (South Africa-at-Large & St Catherine's, 1982):

Mr Shaun Johnson
The Mandela Rhodes Foundation
The Mandela Rhodes Building
150 St George's Mall
Cape Town 8001
PO Box 15897
Vlaeberg 8018
South Africa

T: +27 21 424 3346

F: +27 21 424 9617

For further information on The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, click here.

For further information on the Friends of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (USA), click here.