The Madibaz YouthLab is a space that seeks to focus on youth development within the Nelson Mandela University and the greater community. The YouthLab seeks to establish spaces that ensure co-creation through an innovative approach to address the complex social challenges that confront the youth of South Africa and beyond. The YouthLab seeks to achieve this aim by using its three-core organisational principles such as Connect, Learn and Create. Empowered by the motto of the Nelson Mandela University: Change the world, and in line with the Mandela University's position of being in service to the society. The YouthLab strikes to be a space that enables critical engagements on contemporary issues while seeking to provide solutions for society. It advocates for the development of change agents that advance systems thinking and critical pedagogy.


The Madibaz YouthLab theme for 2022 is Thriving Community invest in Youth Development to Activate Agency Capable to Drive Transformation. It is through this theme that the YouthLab seeks to establish a culture of dialogue and educational engagements that embed the values of his namesake Nelson Mandela through building a society of young leaders who advocates for social transformation. This is through invoking activism across a civic ethos that dismantles existing vestiges of anti-development. Furthermore, encourages the learning of African philosophical values through human development.


Therefore, the dialogue series of the Madibaz YouthLab would be known as the Iimbadu series, which derives itself from the isiXhosa language referring to a space that allows the sharing of ideas, views, and engagements. The engagements that are to take place within this Imbadu series are not to be threatening but rather ones that seek to ensure growth, and engagement in local, national, and global discourse. In its core meaning, Imbadu is a space that promotes the value of Ubuntu, Diversity, Social justice & equality.


The Iimbadu consisted of four sessions that took place across the university residences. The Iimbadu sessions deliberated on various themes highlighted below:


Leadership and Activism in a Modern Society 27th April 2022 13:00
Nelson Mandela University, South Campus, Claude Qavane Dining Hall Area
Re-imagining Quality, Realistic and Impactful engagements 12th May 2022 – 17:30
Nelson Mandela University, North Campus, Charlotte Maxeke Dining Hall
Reflections on the Philosophy, Values and Praxis of Julius Mwalimu Nyerere: How far have we come in creating an education system for Africa’s Renewal

24th May 2022 – 14:00

Council Chambers, South Campus, Embizweni, 
Re-constructing the Decaying Moral Fibre of Society 27th May 2022 – 17:30
Yolanda Guma, Dining Area, 2nd Avenue Campus