Mandela School of Science & Technology – Photo Story 4: Community life

In this photo series, we want to familiarize you with the Mandela School of Science & Technology. In the process of being built, the project is one of South Africa’s most ambitious corporate social responsibility projects as well as one of Siemens’ biggest social investments to date. The Mandela School of Science & Technology is located in Mvezo, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. It embodies Mandela’s belief that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

On a regular basis, we will provide you with pictures depicting different topics of the project. In the fourth part of this series, we will take a look at community life around the Mandela School of Science & Technology.

Mvezo is the birthplace of former South African president and international statesman Nelson Mandela. It is a remote rural area where most citizens do not have regular access to water or electricity. The Mbashe River is their only source, and cattle are essential in order to have a small income. The community of Mvezo is also, however, very proud of their rich history, culture and heritage.


Mvezo consists of six small villages with a total of 2400 souls, a big majority of whom are Xhosa. Often, families live together in rondavels like these. They mostly consist of only one room which combines a kitchen, beds and a table. Animals like geese, donkeys, cattle and dogs are considered part of the family.


The children of the Mvezo Junior Secondary School will soon be able to continue their education at Mandela School of Science & Technology. The Eastern Cape Department of Education has identified 22 schools in the Mthatha District as potential feeder schools for the new secondary school. Siemens is organizing road shows to inform students, teachers and parents about admission requirements.


A girl is carrying a heavy weight on her head home from school. This technique is also used to get water from the (sometimes not so) nearby Mbashe River, as most of the community members do not have access to running water. Girls and women of Mvezo have huge responsibilities as they take care of the household, animals and food.


School children are trying on their new school uniform for the Mandela School of Science & Technology. The school means a tremendous opportunity for young learners who either had to drop out of school or leave their families to study far away form their hometown. As the school focuses on engineering skills, a scarce skill in South Africa, boys and girls will be able to change their lives for the better.