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A socially embedded African university in the service of society, Nelson Mandela University offers diverse life-changing educational experiences, impactful research and innovation, and transformative engagement.


In the dynamic mosaic of higher education, Nelson Mandela University in South Africa emerges as a beacon of inclusivity and academic excellence. A global university brand that exudes student centric values, it is a top choice for East African students, especially those from Kenya. Since its rebrand in 2017, the university is rapidly transforming into the bastion of university education in Africa.

A socially embedded African university in the service of society, Nelson Mandela University offers diverse life-changing educational experiences, impactful research and innovation, and transformative engagement. Guided by a vision to be a dynamic university that generates cutting-edge knowledge for a sustainable future, it embraces values rooted in Ubuntu – a philosophy emphasising humanity, compassion, and interconnectedness. These values are reflected in the university’s commitment to social justice, equality, and integrity, creating an environment where students can find their place in the world and pursue their academic and personal growth. The university promotes a compassionate, people-centred culture where dignity and respect are at the forefront of every interaction.

Nelson Mandela University’s modern font-based logo, with its dynamic African feel, reflects its mantra of ‘Change the World’. The use of the circle and the triangle in the name creates a playful feel while alluding to ingenuity and creativity – two vital ingredients for change. The circle replacing the ‘O’ symbolises the globe, while the triangle replacing the ‘A’ signifies growth, adaptability, and a forward-thinking mindset, suggesting upward movement. The combination of these shapes represents diversity.

The colour palette, featuring blue and yellow, reinforces these themes. The choice of blue symbolises heritage, strength, and trustworthiness, while the bright yellow adds a sense of approachability, freshness, and warmth. 

The university’s brand is inspired by its namesake, the iconic South African statesman and late President Nelson Mandela, who is an internationally renowned symbol of social justice and humanitarian leadership. This connection imbues the university with a profound sense of purpose, encouraging students to pursue education with a goal of making positive changes in the world.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sibongile Muthwa captures the spirit of this journey, emphasising that a student’s decision on where to study shapes their entire future. Nelson Mandela University, under her leadership, is a stronghold of breakthrough education, propelling teaching and learning that can uplift humanity and combat social exclusion.

The university embraces the idea that education knows no borders or backgrounds, creating a diverse student body with over 1,400 international students from more than 60 countries. This multicultural setting allows East African students to immerse themselves in an international community, fostering cross-cultural understanding and building global networks. It is an invaluable opportunity to broaden horizons and deepen cultural appreciation.

 Nelson Mandela University offers both general formative and professionally oriented academic programs from certificate to doctorate level. The university has a robust record in both fundamental and applied research, with extensive partnerships across business, industry, government, and civil society.

It provides nearly 500 study programs across seven faculties, all internationally recognised and accredited by the relevant professional bodies. This broad selection allows students to explore a wide range of career paths, offering the flexibility to find their true calling and pursue opportunities across Africa and beyond. The university’s superior IT services feature Wi-Fi connectivity across all campuses and multiple off-campus locations, as well as advanced technological resources and digital aids designed to effectively support both in-person and blended learning environments. It also provides modern lecture halls, well-equipped laboratories and comprehensive libraries ensuring a fulfilling academic journey.

 Holistic development is a key aspect of the university’s philosophy. Nelson Mandela University offers a wide array of extracurricular activities designed to complement academic pursuits, including sports, clubs, and fitness programs. With top-notch facilities like a state-of-the-art fitness and aquatics centre, students can enjoy a balanced lifestyle, building life skills and forming lasting friendships. This well-rounded approach contributes to a vibrant campus life where students can thrive.

  Nelson Mandela University operates seven campuses across South Africa, six in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and one in George, each offering a distinct experience. Of the Gqeberha campuses, four are located in Summerstrand, one on Bird Street in the Central district, and one in Missionvale. The North and South campuses in Summerstrand are situated within an 840-hectare private nature reserve, providing access to pristine beaches. The George campus is located along the scenic Garden Route, midway between Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town.

Located at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountain range, this campus is affectionately known as the ‘sustainability’ campus. It earns this name from its setting amid native forests and pine plantations, creating a unique environment where ecological footprint meets business acumen to promote a sustainable future.

 For Kenyan parents, affordability is a significant advantage. Nelson Mandela University provides education on par with leading institutions in the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Canada, and Australia, but at a fraction of the cost – tuition fees are up to one-quarter of those in many Western universities. This cost-effectiveness, coupled with the university’s geographical proximity to East African countries, makes it a practical and attractive option. The location in South Africa reduces travel costs, making it easier for parents to stay connected with their children. The university also offers safe and affordable on-campus accommodation for early applicants, providing a secure environment that brings parents peace of mind.

 The university has a strong record of producing successful graduates, including a ‘who’s who’ list of Kenyan scholars who have excelled in various fields. Nelson Mandela University’s focus on a student-centric education fosters an environment where students can reach their fullest potential. For East African parents, this indicates that their children will receive an education that sets them on the path toward a successful and impactful future.

 Nelson Mandela University is on track to be a truly dynamic African university, recognised for its leadership in generating cutting edge knowledge for a sustainable future, by offering a diverse range of life changing education experiences for a better world.

 The university remains true to its values of excellence, respect for diversity, Ubuntu, social justice and equality, integrity and sustainable stewardship. It is the university that ought to be top of mind for discerning students and caring parents from the rest of Africa. More than an institution, it is a launchpad for dreams and a place where students are encouraged to make a positive impact on the world.


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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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