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Kweku Mandela: with Cotton On Foundation GM, Tim Diamond
Kweku Mandela: Presenting to COG team members
Kweku Mandela: Presenting to COG team members

Making Giving Back Cool

23rd October, 2014

The Cotton On Group has been praised for its efforts to improve the lives of communities abroad, following a visit from the grandson of the late Nelson Mandela.

In Australia to promote the release of a new documentary, “Beyond Right Or Wrong”, Kweku Mandela has been instrumental in forging a relationship between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Cotton On Foundation, the Group’s philanthropic arm.

Together, the two Foundations are working to create positive change and improve the lives of South African communities in need, through focusing on areas in line with the Cotton On Foundation’s pillars of education, health, sustainability and infrastructure.

Speaking to members of the Group’s head office team, Mr Mandela said he admires the work of the Cotton On Foundation and the emphasis it places on creating social change.

“What I love about the Cotton On Group is that it has a clear, strong, social development arm. If a company makes social good a clear focus, it’s in a position to promote this as a lifestyle choice for its people, and make giving back cool.”

Mr Mandela said the power of the individual doing extraordinary things should not be underestimated and challenged Group team members to find a way every day to help others.

“As human beings, most of us want to give back and have a positive impact on those around us,” he said.

“When there is so much focus today on having nice clothes and good cars, it’s important that each of us find the balance and remember that many people in the world are facing enormous challenges.”

Whilst he hasn’t followed his grandfather’s footsteps into a life of politics, Mr Mandela said he is fulfilling the renowned leader’s legacy through his own work as a film maker and avid social activist.

With his cousin Ndaba, he has established the Africa Rising network for African youth, helping to change the global perception of Africa and showcase positive development and growth.

The films and documentaries produced by Mr Mandela’s production company, Out Of Africa Entertainment, also have a distinct social message. The latest documentary, “Beyond Right Or Wrong” explores conflict, forgiveness and social justice in three different conflict areas around the world.

“(Having the Mandela name) is a unique experience, it’s a larger than life name and it comes with a lot of pressure and expectation,” he said.

“When my cousins and I asked our grandfather what he wanted his legacy to be, he told us, it’s not my legacy any more, it’s yours.”

Kweku Mandeala’s guest appearance was part of the Cotton On Group’s monthly PAUSE sessions which feature speakers from a variety of fields, aimed at inspiring creative thinking in the Group’s people. An initiative of the People and Culture platform, the sessions are just one element of the Group’s broader strategy to energise, inspire and develop team members both personally and professionally.