Address by Nelson Mandela at launch of Mindset Network, Johannesburg

16 July 2003

Lighting your way to a better future

Honoured guests, Ladies and gentlemen

Thank you for joining us this evening at this celebration of the launch of Mindset Network, an educational satellite multimedia network and its first channel, called Activate.

South Africa inherited a highly dysfunctional educational system from the Apartheid era. It is our one of our major tasks of reconstruction to build an educational system that provides quality opportunities for all our people. It is fundamentally important that our children are prepared to compete with confidence in the international arena. We need to ensure that every one of our children has access to a world class, quality education. And the teaching of maths, science and English is a major national priority, as more of our children need to excel in these subjects.

The Department of Education is doing a sterling job in making this possible and I am also particularly proud of the work of corporate South Africa in supporting the department in country-changing education initiatives. This is one such initiative we are launching tonight.

I have long been impressed with the work of the Liberty Foundation which has made huge strides with the Learning Channel on television over the last 13 years. This has proven very successful and made an immeasurable difference in the lives of countless learners and teachers. But it is only available a couple of hours a week. What South Africa really needed was to take this innovation to the next level. We needed a dedicated education channel which could offer a great deal of content and resources to all South African learners and educators.

How superb that this has been made possible by a number of companies. I understand that some of these companies are competitors. That these organisations are standing side by side and working together is another testimony to that great ability of South Africans to overcome differences and obstacles. It is for that reason that so many regard us as a nation built on the miraculous.

I so want to pay homage and give my personal thanks to those at Liberty, Standard Bank, PanAmSat, Multichoice Africa, the Sunday Times, Sentech and of course those at the Nelson Mandela Foundation for stepping forward to make this possible.

I also want to thank those people who work at Mindset Network for all you have done so quickly to get this project up and running. It is hard to believe that you managed to get so far in such a short time. It is simply remarkable what people can do in a year when there is a great need and the time is right.

The support of schools, and particularly those in rural areas, has long been a matter near to my heart. In fact there are many of you in the audience today who probably quiver when you see me because you know that I believe we can all do more in this area!

As you know I am also passionate about dealing with our healthcare challenges, particularly in the area of HIV/Aids. I will spend the rest of my days trying to help secure a more educated and healthier South Africa. I am therefore relieved to hear that Mindset Network will also be launching a channel which will be dedicated to healthcare issues, one that will target both healthcare workers and patients all over the country.

With its focus on education and healthcare, the network is addressing the same key issues of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. It was therefore obvious that my foundation would pledge its support to this initiative.

I would appeal to every single South African, every South African organisation and to our friends internationally to support Mindset Network. It is a project which will surely make a significant difference to the lives of millions of South Africans and even those beyond our borders.

What is particularly exciting about this project is that it is potentially a solution to education challenges in other countries. We are developing something that has application around the world.

Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world and Mindset Network is a powerful part of that world changing arsenal. I would now like to make a presentation to two very deserving schools. I will be presenting a Mindset Network receiving kit so that these schools will be able to receive the education channel Activate which currently runs twelve hours each day.

I firstly call on the head of department of Science at Mount Ayliff Secondary school near Kokstad, Goodman Zingisile Cele, as well as two grade twelves, Phumezo Joyi and Phumzile Nonduku.

Mount Ayliff has almost 1200 learners and 52 educators and is situated more than 30km from the nearest town. It is a school in the Eastern Cape which is part of a pilot of 50 schools participating in the rural schools development programme initiated by my Foundation.

The Foundation's studies have shown that even though impoverished, Mount Ayliff is doing well in terms of governance, leadership and commitment.

The principal Mr Nyembezi, who is away at a Winter School for learners, is a visionary and highly committed person. He is supported by staff that are as committed and go more than the extra mile.

Because I am no longer a young man I am handing you this globe in the place of a tv set, a satellite dish, a decoder, a video and a smart card as well educator training and support. I want to give the package to your school, as I know it will open up a world of possibilities for you all.


I now call on the the principal of Letsibogo High School, Ellen Kondowe, as well as the head girl, Lerato Mabogoane, and acting head girl, Mamato Zwane.

This school is situated in Meadowlands and has 719 girls attending with a staff complement of 25 teachers. It is part of the Dinaledi Project aimed at improving Maths and Science results. Letsibogo is a partner school to St. Stithians which works with the school to improve its Science results. Teachers at the school are committed to the programme and attend weekly exchange workshops with St. Stithians. Clearly Letsibogo High School is making an excellent effort.


I wish all of you every success in your educational efforts.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation