The story of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s grantmaking in South Africa begins thirty years ago, well before our 21st century mission statement was established. Yet it comes as no surprise to me that our highest purpose was largely the same then as it is today: The Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.
This year, the Mellon Foundation celebrates 30 years of grantmaking in South Africa. Since 1988, when then president William G. Bowen initiated Mellon’s support for South African universities, the Foundation has provided has awarded over $187 million in arts and humanities grants to a total of 44 South African universities and other institutions.
To honor this significant milestone, the Foundation brings to life three decades of grantmaking in its newly released publication. With vibrant images from our grantees across South Africa, the publication includes interviews with institutional leaders and partners, as well as testimony from the grantees themselves, all together detailing a rich and ever-evolving history.
“Over 30 years, Mellon support has contributed to developing institutional capacities of key research universities in accordance with their specific visions and priorities, especially to strengthening the arts and humanities, and to higher education more generally,” writes Saleem Badat, program director of the Foundation’s International Higher Education and Strategic Projects team (IHESP).
“There has been an enduring pursuit of core goals such as strengthening institutional capacities for research, publishing, and teaching, especially in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences, enhancing scholarship and research on important local, regional, and global questions, and expanding and strengthening postgraduate education and training.”
Publication cover designed by Juliana Jangara. Image - Diana Hulton, Mountain XIII, 137.5 x 158.5 cm, centre canvas of Mountain Triptych, Oil on Canvas, 137.5 x 568.5 cm, 1985- 1991. The Constitutional Court Trust and Iziko South African National Gallery