NELSON Mandela’s legacy will be kept alive at the University of Sunderland.
The university has teamed up with The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a non-profit organisation which supports and promotes the work the former South African President did to promote peace, human rights and democracy.
It will work alongside Sunderland City Council and Sunderland AFC – all members of the International Strategy Steering Group, under the Sunderland Partnership.
One of the Partnership’s aims is to develop a long-term approach of co-operation with Africa, drawing together sporting, educational and community links to create economic, educational and cultural benefits in both areas.
University of Sunderland vice-chancellor Professor Peter Fidler held a lunch at the city’s National Glass Centre and welcomed Sello Hatang, the chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation as well as Zola Zembe (also known as Archie Sibeko), a South African trade unionist and one of the original treason triallists imprisoned with Nelson Mandela, who died earlier this month.
Prof Fidler said: “It is a great honour for the university to support the work of this renowned and highly respected organisation.
“Nelson Mandela was a truly inspirational figure to millions across the world.
“Through our partnership working, and building on the successful relationship already established by SAFC, we can develop our community engagement both in this region and on a global platform with this iconic organisation, harnessing its cultural values of inclusivity and reconciliation, tapping into its expertise and sharing knowledge.
“The university has established itself as an international university with a reputation that extends worldwide, and we believe supporting the Nelson Mandela Foundation will only enhance our work and the lives of our student community as well as the wider city.”
SAFC is a Legacy Advocate for the Nelson Mandela Foundation – a first for world football.
The partnership aims to help promote Mandela’s legacy through the global reach of the Barclays Premier League, while SAFC hopes to utilise the organisation’s knowledge and expertise to continue to raise greater awareness of social issues, such as inclusion and diversity and support football’s quest to eradicate racism from the game.
Sello Hatang said: “What binds the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Sunderland is our mandate to live the legacy and pursue excellence to ensure a positive future.
“People, and the service of people, is central to this.
“Madiba said ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead’.
“Nelson Mandela’s legacy has created the opportunity for us to achieve a common future and a movement for good.
“This is a journey that is our collective responsibility as active citizens and it cannot be achieved without valued partners. Sunderland AFC is such a partner. And together we share the commitment towards inclusion.”
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of the city council, said: “We are proud to play a role in developing the partnership established by Sunderland AFC with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. As a city we have many links to Africa within our community and we are keen to celebrate all the different nationalities and cultures which make such a significant contribution to life in Sunderland.”