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Mandela Scholarship Fund

This Scholarship is intended for students from four South African partner universities (Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and University of the Western Cape) who would like to study at Leiden University for one or two semesters as part of an exchange programme.

Leiden University deadline: 15 Oct (programmes starting Feb); 1 April (programmes starting Sept) / South African universities: check deadline with your university
Target group
Bachelor, Master
Countries/ nationalities
Students of all nationalities
Scholarship type
Archaeology, Humanities, Medicine/LUMC, Governance and Global Affairs, Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Science, Interfacultair Centrum voor Lerarenopleiding, Onderwijsontwikkeling en Nascholing (ICLON), African Studies Centre, International Institute for Asian Studies

For who

Students of Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, or University of the Western Cape who are coming to Leiden University for an exchange programme of one or two semesters. 

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must: 

  • be enrolled at one of the universities specified above;
  • be pre-selected for a scholarship by their home university;
  • meet the admission requirements for exchange/study abroad students at Leiden University.

Read the Mandela Scholarship Fund terms and conditions carefully in advance. 


This scholarship cannot be combined with an Erasmus+ ICM scholarship.

Scholarship amount

University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, University of the Western Cape:

  • One scholarship per university for a two-semester exchange programme (up to 10 months), OR
  • Two scholarships per university for a one-semester exchange programme (up to 5 months).
  • Scholarship includes:
    • Living allowance: € 1,250 per month
    • Aon Student Insurance for the duration of the exchange (5 or 10 months)

Stellenbosch University:

  • Two scholarships for a two-semester exchange programme (up to 10 months), OR
  • Four scholarships for a one-semester exchange programme (up to 5 months).
  • Scholarship includes:
    • Living allowance: € 625 per month
    • Aon Student Insurance for the duration of the exchange (5 or 10 months)

Application process

  1. Submit your scholarship application to your home university in South Africa.
  2. Submit an online application for admission for an exchange/study abroad course at Leiden University.

Selection process

  • The South African universities will review all scholarship applications and send the names of selected students to Leiden University’s Scholarships Team.
  • Within two weeks of admission to a Leiden University exchange programme, the Scholarships Team will notify the selected candidates and provide further instructions. 

Further information

For more information about the application process at your home university, please send an email to the contact person below.

University Contact person Email address
University of Pretoria Ms Mahlogonolo Mphahlele
International & Postgraduate Specialist Consultant: Europe Countries (Inbound & Outbound)
University of Cape Town Ms Noluthi Kula 
Exchanges Assistant
University of the Western Cape Ms Tracy Beckett
Manager International Relations Office

Ms Debra Lamson
Study abroad / student exchange coordinator



Stellenbosch University

Sarah Jane van der Westhuizen
Manager: Centre for Global Engagement

Angelo McKerry
Coordinator: Outgoing Semester Exchanges



For more information about application procedure at Leiden University, send an email to: exchange@sea.leidenuniv.nl


The student is responsible for submitting a complete application, according to the steps described above and before the aforementioned deadline. Leiden University cannot be held responsible for late and/or incomplete applications.


History of the Mandela Scholarship Fund

On March 12, 1999, his Excellency President Nelson Mandela of South Africa received an Honorary Doctorate from Leiden University, the Netherlands. To mark this memorable event, Leiden University founded the Mandela Scholarship Fund. 
On receiving the award, President Mandela stated that it brought him not only great honour, but also great responsibility: “South Africans will in the coming years have to solve problems that you have faced before us. We have to build many new houses and schools, extend health care still further, and deal with crime and corruption. These challenges are even greater than those we have already overcome, and we will need all the strength that we have, and that of our friends. As much as anything, that is true also of South Africa's universities and the scientific work we are doing. A greater exchange of students will be enriching for both of our nations. On the one hand it will contribute to the development of our country and the rebirth of our continent. And on the other, we believe contact with the young people of my country will enrich and enlarge the insight that your youth has of your history and I dare say the multi-cultural character of your society."

Make a contribution

We genuinely hope that all those who are committed to President Mandela’s goal to develop and enrich South Africa, will choose to support the Mandela Sscholarship Fund. Only with your financial support will the Mandela Scholarship Fund be able to continue educating South African students at Leiden University. With your support you will make a direct contribution to the reconstruction and further development of South Africa.

Special donations

If you would like to make a special donation or are considering leaving the Mandela Scholarship Fund a legacy, the Rector Magnificus of Leiden University would be very pleased to schedule an appointment with you to discuss the possibilities. Please contact Student and Educational Affairs for an appointment.

How to contribute

All contributions to the Mandela Scholarship Fund can be made by transferring your payment to IBAN: NL45 RABO 0161041264, in the name of Stichting Praesidium Libertatis Universiteit Leiden, mentioning Mandela Scholarship Fund.

Key sponsors

Leiden University Fund (LUF) is the key sponsor of the Mandela Scholarship Fund.

Aon Student Insurance sponsors all students who recieve the Mandela Scholarship Fund with an insurance during their stay in Leiden.

Nelson Mandela, Leiden University 1999
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