Mandela To Toast Rhodes Centenary

Celebrating the centennial of the Rhodes scholarship trust, former South African President Nelson Mandela will be taking part in an event alongside a thousand former Oxford University Rhodes scholars. The scholarships are among the world’s most prestigious, and notable past recipients have included US President Bill Clinton and former Australian and Jamaican Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Norman Manley. The trust, established to commemorate Cecil Rhodes, founder of the De Beers diamond company and a former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, will launch the Mandela Rhodes foundation. The foundation will be based in Rhodes House in Oxford and the new Mandela Building in Johannesburg, with the trust donating £10m and raising an additional £20m over the next decade for the development of sporting facilities, conservation, and children’s health initiatives in South Africa. The event will take place in London’s Westminster Hall with Prime Minister Tony Blair, Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman of De Beers and Lord Waldegrave, Chairman of the Rhodes trustees, as well as a thousand ex-Rhodes scholars in attendance. Later in the week, four Rhodes scholars will receive honorary degrees from Oxford University’s new chancellor, Chris Patten. The scholarship is open to applicants in the Commonwealth, Germany, and the US, with the trust covering all expenses, estimated to be £22,000 per student per year. Rhodes stipulated in his will that the scholars should demonstrate "truth, courage, devotion to duty, and sympathy for and protection of the weak," not just academic prowess.


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