Nelson Mandela’s grandsons, Ndaba Mandela and Kweku Mandela Amuah have launched a social network dubbed Mandela.is to honor their grandfather and have signed up over 20,000 users in three days of their soft launch according to Forbes.
Ndaba and Kweku say Mandela.is is a collection of lessons they learned from their grandfather, Nelson Mandela and describes the world as a “a place where we each have the capacity to make a positive difference in the world.”
Ndaba Mandela told Forbes: “Conceptually, Mandela.is is about enabling people to understand that like our grandfather, Madiba, we each have the ability to achieve greatness. The social network is a platform that connects people with similar interests together and to causes they are passionate about.”
Ndaba added that the platform also inspires people to be active in their communities and to effect change locally. Madiba comes from Qunu, a small village in South Africa. He is an ordinary African man who stood up and fought for what he believed in and this is what made him great…
Kweku also adds that the platform also celebrates other great men and women who helped shape madiba into the man he is.
Kweku said: “There were other great South African men and women who played an influential part in our grandfather’s personal development. Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo identified and showed Madiba his ability to impact his community and those around him. As did Albertina Sisulu and Ruth First who both played a critical role in Madiba’s development as an activist. These people helped change the tide of apartheid which ultimately led to our grandfather’s release and shaped his legacy as the first democratically elected Black President of South Africa. Mandela.is is an extension of what these great South Africans did for our grandfather; our social network aims to show people that they have the same seeds of greatness as Madiba and that they have the ability to effect change in their own way. Mandela.is is the vehicle that links them to organizations, people, institutions and content that they want to be involved with.
Asked why they decided to turn to technology and specifically a social network Ndaba Mandela said tech has broken down barriers to communication enabling people to connect faster regardless of geographic location.
“Social network made sense for our idea because we wanted to build a community of people with a passion for doing good as well as build communities around different causes. This was important to us because we wanted a platform that enabled people to unite around a cause, support and engage each other and use it to broadcast and share their causes, said Kweku and added, “Our primary goal with Mandela.is is to create a movement and a platform that has value and that people want to engage with. Our business model is centered around bringing together a lot of people who either want to do good or are doing good.
According to Ndaba Mandela Mandela.is different from Facebook as it connects people who recognize and look to Madiba and his work and also aim to make a difference in the world and not just everyone.
Kweku Mandela Amuah added that the conversations and connections on Mandela.is will be deeper and its content will be much more focused. “We hope that this will spur users to take action offline for the good of their communities. Another critical difference is that, with our community platform, we will be able to amplify and extend the Nelson Mandela Day celebrations and activities that take place throughout the year, Kweku added.
Ndaba says Mandela.is will be running on the Backplane technology. Backplane is a Palo Alto, Carlifonia startup that builds platform to allow like-minded people to connect across their shared interests. Backplane build Lady Gaga’s LittleMonsters.com, and have approximately $5 million in venture backing.
Apart from Backplane’s CEO and founder, Matthew Michelsen and his team, Mandela.is is also working with skilled and talented people that have worked with Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton and on Obama Presidential campaign so as to create a place where people can be inspired and can inspire others just like Mandela did with his work. Mandela.is is a movement and not just another community site.
Kweku says they are coming up with innovative ways to enable users to interact with the content on the platform.
“With Mandela.is we hope that users will feel empowered from interacting with each other and will be motivated to be active in their communities. Joining our community network is a small step that we are asking users to take with us and in return we hope that we can help them amplify their positive work in their communities and the world,” Kweku said.
With 20,000 already on the platform and counting, the Mandela’s says in the coming weeks they will be releasing the first iteration of the site so as people can share their interests, inspiration and work via text, photo images, art, and video.