Mandela Centenary Celebrations Colloquium
Project Contact Person: Bruce Damons 
Contact Number: 081 311 4249  and 041 504 3895
Email Address:
What is the project about?
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”
The statement above, made by Nelson Mandela on the 16 July 2003, is a statement which has found broad resonance within the South African society, on the African continent as well as globally. It could be argued that this statement has a dichotomous meaning across the various categories of education.
In a world faced with growing inequality, changing political landscapes, armed conflicts, racial and gender tensions etc., we are challenged to explore the following questions as they relate to Mandela’s 2003 statement:
  • Would Mandela be satisfied that ‘the weapon’ is achieving its intended objective in the 21st century?
  • Is the statement being monopolised by formal education at the expense and recognition of informal and non-formal education?
  • Have we reached the stage where the understanding of the statement needs to be deconstructed and reconstructed, to speak to the challenges of the 21st centuries?
  • How do we create spaces which invite the three categories of education to collaborate and explore the potential reconstruction of the statement?
  • Is it not time to recognize the plurality of knowledge which possibly can be achieved through epistemological dialogue between the three different categories of education? 
For this reason, the Faculty of Education at Nelson Mandela University, will host a colloquium which forms part of the Mandela centenary celebrations on the 19 and 20 July 2018, to explore these questions. 
Participants from across the three categories of education; namely the formal, informal and non-formal areas, will be invited to participate in this colloquium.
Aim of the project
Repositioning our understanding of the “weapon” which Mandela used in his statement. 
Understanding the contextual relevance of Mandela’s statement to meet the 21st century realities of growing inequalities and hegemonies of knowledge, within the drive for a decolonised education system
Linking the debate to the vision of the University, Faculty Of Education and Centenary celebrations
Stakeholders of the project:
  • Faculty of Education 
  • Prof Puleng Segalo (UNISA) - Moderator/Facilitator
  • AJ Franklin 
  • Centre for the Community School
Successes obtained/events held:
The colloquium will be held on the 19 and 20 July 2018.