Nelson Mandela, Rhodes Building, Cape Town 2003

Nelson Mandela with Rhodes Scholars

 “We are sometimes still asked by people how we could agree to have our name joined to that of Cecil John Rhodes in this Mandela Rhodes initiative.  To us, the answer is easy, and we have explained the logic of our decision on a number of occasions.  We have referred to our constitution’s injunction for us to come together across the historical divides, to build our country together with a future equally shared by all.

“…The event of this morning gives a further concrete answer to that question.  The erstwhile company of Cecil John Rhodes, in which members of the Oppenheimer family were and remain such illustrious and great South Africans, has today once more demonstrated its commitment to transformation – and, in fact, reparation…

“…We see The Mandela Rhodes Foundation as a significant initiative within that broader framework of South Africans taking responsibility for the transformation of their society, so grievously skewed by a history of colonialism and apartheid.  We shall once more take hands across historical divides that others may deem unbridgeable.”