The Mandela Scholarship Fund was established in 1973 to help meet the need for university education of South African students prevented from studying by discriminatory apartheid laws.

The first scholarship was awarded for civil engineering in 1976 and today, thanks to the support of the University of Sussex and other benefactors, the fund offers up to three scholarships annually. On a personal note, the fund is close to my heart – I worked to establish it as an independent charity in 1985 when I was a student and now serve as a trustee.

In celebration of 40 years of unbroken awards of scholarships, the fund will be hosting its inaugural lecture at South Africa House in London on Thursday 21 July. The subject – The Untapped Potential of the Mandela Constitution – will examine the richness of the constitution which provides the pathway for South Africa from the dark days of apartheid to a diverse and multi-racial liberal democracy.  

The speaker is the Honourable Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Cameron was appointed to the bench by Mandela, who described him as ‘one of South Africa’s new heroes’.

Cameron has become a world-renowned figure in the field of human rights and is justly credited with having played a fundamental role in the reversal of the devastatingly misguided policy followed by the South African government in response to the Aids crisis.

Should readers be interested in attending, we would be delighted for them to contact Sue Cornford at the University of Sussex ( for an invitation.

Apartheid may have ended but the need is as great as ever for educated people to help build successful societies in southern Africa.

For further information about the fund, please visit

Daniel Simon, senior partner, Collyer Bristow, London WC1