Nelson Mandela Foundation Dialogue & Advocacy Fellowship for Thought Leaders 2021

Nelson Mandela Foundation invites applications for the Nelson Mandela Foundation Dialogue & Advocacy Fellowship for Thought Leaders in South Africa in 2021.

Economies have been brought to a standstill and economic and social activities dramatically curbed as. The South Africa government, like many countries, has tried to cushion the pandemic’s effects on citizens by introducing an array of relief measures with communities, organizations, and philanthropists also playing a supporting role.

Given the fact that Covid-19 is inflicting health, economic and social upheaval the world over and governments attempt to ‘flatten the curve’, it is believed that this opportunity can be used for reflection, planning, and advocacy for the kind of communities and country we want to live and thrive in as well as the type of economy and society that needs to be actualized in order to realize this.

This stems from the conviction that life should not go back to normal and that we must be moved to action in ways that can change our economic and social trajectory. In particular, we can use this time to reflect on how we can restructure our economy to care for people who are too poor to be part of ‘the system’ and those whose livelihoods are so vulnerable that a month without income cripples them. 

Interested candidates can submit applications in line with either one of these focus areas: a) The uneasy task ahead: The Economy

As we grapple with the notion of building back better and what that means for us in a local context, there are proposals such as universal basic income that are being proposed as possible mechanisms for easing the burden of the country’s poor. It is envisioned that the Fellow selected would help the Foundation shape its economic positions, have an understanding of economic debates and research, and also contribute to the public discourse in these areas. Moreover, the Fellow selected should also be willing to apply their mind to issues of sustainability and the mainstreaming thereof, as well as creating public awareness about the need to be deliberate about our development path as a country. Moreover, international approaches need to also be considered so as to locate South Africa within the global context.

The issue of land reform is central to realizing a more just and equitable future. Beyond mere rhetoric, there is a need to consider and action proposals that can realize this. We believe that the issue of land reform can be used as a yardstick to measure progress and redress as a country, and while much of the focus has been on rural land, there is a need to focus on urban land in the context of urbanization. Housing is linked to the issue of land, especially when speaking to the urban context. The selected fellow should help to advance the discourse on this important issue.

Worth of Award


  • remuneration for this position is R30, 000 a month, with a R1, 000 data and airtime allowance.
  • position will be a combination of working remotely as well as on-site at the Nelson Mandela Foundation offices in Johannesburg and will incorporate a leadership development component.
  • This position is full time, until the end of 2021 


To be considered for the Nelson Mandela Foundation Dialogue & Advocacy Fellowship, the Fellow needs to:

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Must be

  • able to write for a popular audience and show proof of ability to do so
  • comfortable with public speaking and stakeholder engagement
  • able to take initiative, work with little supervision and be self-motivated
  • able to convene dialogues and be willing to support the Dialogue and Advocacy team with work that is related to their chosen focus area
  • willing to meet deadlines and be hardworking
  • Have at least a Masters degree or be studying towards one
  • Preference may be given to candidates that are Gauteng based

How to Apply

  • Prospective Fellows will need to complete the application form ie. Appendix A, which must be sent along with their CV to [email protected] 

Deadline: The closing date for applications is the 21st of May 2021, and the expected start date is June 1st, 2021.

Click here for more details and to apply