Change the world

New Name


The week that was …

The launch of our new name as Nelson Mandela University has surfaced much – exceptional media coverage, great University Shop sales, trending on social media, memes, robust debate and the realisation of the enormous responsibilities and expectations of us going forward.

Speaker after speaker highlighted the gravitas of the mantle we now bear as the only university in the world to carry the name of Nelson Mandela University, albeit that no less than 50 institutions had applied for that honour.

The launch provided a trigger for robust debate and discussion, especially around the meaning of the Nelson Mandela name and the implications this has for our university. There was active interaction around the University’s new branding from different stakeholders, including commentary around our role as an institution of higher learning. Or to quote the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa: “Much is expected of this University” in a society ravaged by the burdens of inequality, poverty and unemployment. “It must seek to answer those social and economic challenges.”

Other speakers, including Advocate George Bizos, retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Chancellor Santie Botha, Vice-Chancellor Derrick Swartz, Chair of Council Judge Ronnie Pillay, Metro Mayor Athol Trollip and our own student leader Pedro Mzileni, all highlighted the need for the university to emulate the values and ethos of Mandela, and strive to live for what he stood for. It is a challenge the University relishes.

The focus on Nelson Mandela University saw the following:

Media coverage

  • Excellent national print and broadcast coverage of the launch was received. Mail & Guardian, SABC, eNCA, Umhlobo Wenene, the Tiso Black Star Group of newspapers and websites, and News24, were among those to cover the event and the messages of the high-profile speakers at Missionvale Campus 


  • Both the new name website and the main university website received a spike in views, with a 55% increase in visitors to the news site compared to the week before the launch

Social media

Twitter (@MandelaUni)

  • Both hashtags - #NelsonMandelaUniversity and #MandelaUniLaunch – trended nationally on the launch day and into most of following day.
  • The official announcement of the name change garnered the most likes and retweets ever – 405 likes and 409 retweets – on our Twitter profile

Facebook (@MandelaUni)

  • Engagement on Facebook leapt by 354% from the previous week’s interactions
  • More than 250 000 people were reached via the posts during the launch week – a 595% increase on the previous week’s reach.


  • The live feed video had almost 600 views
  • The platform gained a further 145 new followers and has 6 050 followers to date


  • Whether it was Toys R Us, samosas, pies or a translation of two laughing foreign language speakers discussing the new brand, the University took centre stage. On the positive side, this means even more people are talking and know about Nelson Mandela University.


  • Both the VC’s address to staff and students at the Mandela Magic Concert and the official event was live streamed to enable viewing both internally and around the globe. On Tuesday, 191 people watched the staff & student concert and on Thursday, 655 watched the launch – 29 of whom were from other countries.

University Shop

  • The rebranded University Shop opened on Monday and in just two days had sold 501 branded clothing items and 2324 corporate gifts. The most popular items are T-shirts and hoodies.


Communication and Stakeholder Liaison