Nelson Mandela Foundation mourns death of ‘Children’s Champion’

Jan Cronje, News24 Correspondent

Cape Town – The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development on Saturday paid tribute to German shipping company owner and philanthropist Peter Krämer as a champion of children in Africa.

Nicknamed the “roter Reeder” or “red shipping owner” by the German press due to his philanthropy and focus on social injustice, he died, aged 66, on Monday night, June 26.

Krämer, with former President Nelson Mandela and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), was instrumental in getting the Schools for Africa initiative off the ground in 2004.

According to Unicef, the programme works within communities to build and furnish schools, train teachers, provide access to clean water and supply students with school materials.

It boasts to helping 30 million children throughout the continent get an education, and is currently active in 13 African countries, including South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development said on Saturday that Mandela and Krämer were united in a common drive to better African education.

“The legacy of Peter Krämer’s life, carried out by the Peter Krämer Stiftung, will always be linked with Nelson Mandela’s own dedication to education,” the two groups said in a joint statement.

“The bond that brought them together was their deep commitment to democracy, and their understanding that a healthy democracy depends on quality public education for all children.”

The two groups said they would continue Krämer and Mandela’s vision of better educational possibilities for Africa’s children.

“Inspired by his life’s work, we recommit ourselves to the vision shared by Peter and Madiba – a world in which all children have access to quality education. Hamba kakuhle Tata Peter.”

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