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Building on Mandela’s commitment to social justice: working together to create #TheFutureWeWant

‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’ – Nelson Mandela

In the spirit of Mandela Day, Symphonia for South Africa (SSA) called on corporates and individual business leaders, as well as ordinary citizens, to contribute financially to its leadership development and principal support programme, Partners for Possibility (PfP). This will allow more school principals across from under-resourced schools across South Africa to experience the award-winning PfP process.

‘To honour Mandela’s appeal to eradicate poverty, a theme that underscores annual Mandela Day celebrations, SSA continues to roll out its PfP programme to under-resourced schools. The programme addresses one of the underlying causes of poverty and inequality in South Africa by strengthening the leadership capacity of school principals, which is a key driver for improving education outcomes. And we know that quality education is a viable means to overcome inherited poverty and inequality,’ said SSA’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Dorcas Dube.

For one of the most iconic leaders of our time, it was imperative that real educational change began in the impoverished communities on the periphery of society. ‘’Many [students] in far off rural areas in our country do not become confident readers and writers,’’ Mandela is reported to have said. ‘’Indeed, they are denied the creativity that in turn denies the world the boldness of their ideas.’’

While the majority of South African students — Black and White — now attend primary school, vast income inequality, as well as a lack of support and empowerment of school principals, insufficiently trained teachers and inadequate facilities, has largely prevented Black students from closing the racial achievement gap shaped by apartheid.

’Since its launch a decade ago, we believe that PfP has made a meaningful contribution to realising Mandela’s vision of quality education for all children in South Africa. The programme has been rolled out in all nine provinces, reaching many rural areas in addition to urban and peri-urban regions.

The theory of change that underpins the PfP leadership development and principal support initiative recognises that strengthening leadership capacity at school level is a sustainable way to effect the change Mandela envisioned. The sustainable nature of PfP’s impact means that every day on the programme  ̶ and beyond  ̶ truly epitomises and maintains the spirit of Mandela Day for the participants and their respective communities,’ said Dube.

It is well known that beyond his commitment to education in his formal capacity, Mandela made a concerted effort to encourage the private sector to contribute to education, particularly in marginalised communities.

‘The PfP programme facilitates a much needed public-private sector partnership and allows business leaders the opportunity to contribute to developing the future potential of our children,’ Dube added.

The successes of the PfP programmme bear testament to the possibilities that can be generated through collaborative effort, innovative thinking and active citizenry, and they often reflect the accuracy of Mandela’s often-quoted words: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’

‘Our hope is that all stakeholders – government, business, civil society and ordinary citizens – will apply their knowledge and skills in a coordinated manner to achieve the common goal of creating #TheFutureWeWant, which includes quality education for all our children.

‘This is how we can all keep Madiba’s legacy of love, peace and equality alive,’ Dube concluded.


Take action and get involved!

Commit to the Partners for Possibility programme in honour of Tata Madiba.

This is your opportunity to contribute to education through a partnership with a principal from an under-resourced school. Benefit from a hands-on experience that is designed to hone your leadership skills.

Interested? Contact Alternatively, if you know someone who may be interested, please forward our details to them.

Make a donation – big or small – in support of quality education: