To make a difference to the lives of vulnerable young people in South Africa, bringing together individuals and organisations to achieve shared goals.

To raise the aspirations of these young people, develop them into community leaders, create future ambassadors for Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH); while encouraging them into employment, entrepreneurship and education, through the sport of sailing.


The CSR project, funded by the Sapinda Group, an investment holding company with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, sought to give young people a unique personal development opportunity through participation in a life-changing global adventure, and at the same time encourage them to become a catalyst and role model within their own respective communities.

In April 2013, hundreds of young people, aged 18 to 24, applied for the chance to take part in the Clipper Race Invest Africa team entry, as part of a Sapinda Group funded crew tag team, named Sapinda Rainbow.

The innovative scheme encouraged local communities from all nine provinces in South Africa to nominate young candidates for the chance to compete in a tough three day selection event, hosted by Sail Africa in Durban and subsequently to compete in one of the eight legs of the Clipper 2013-14 Race, on board the Invest Africa entry. 30 applicants were chosen to participate in the selection process and then whittled down to the final team of eight ambassadors, and two reserves.

The Sapinda Rainbow Project ambassadors each bought a different skill, passion and of course, personality to the race. Each of the ambassadors engaged with local youth initiatives in ports around the world which utilized their individual strengths and interests. Highlights included working with the Grael project in Rio de Janeiro; being selected to take part in the international press conference for the prestigous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in Australia; engaging with yacht club participants in San Francisco; and meeting the partisans from the Derry bursary scheme in Derry-Londonderry. As part of the fundraising element of the initiative, ambassadors have attended charity gala’s, including the Berlin film premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

This partnership with Sapinda Rainbow and the Clipper Race is a special one for both the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. It is initiatives like these, where people are willing to literally go to the ends of the earth to achieve their dreams that motivate us in this mission to make Madiba’s wish to build a children’s hospital come true.

Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust

The eight Sapinda Rainbow project ambassadors took centre stage at the 2013 Annual Children’s Celebration in July, held in South Africa to celebrate Madiba’s 95th birthday.

The Sapinda Rainbow project has reached a cumulative global news media audience in excess of 100 million people and is projected to generate a PR value in excess of £3 million.

After being selected for the project, ambassador Lebalang Molobele re-enrolled at University and has now completed her LLB Law degree with distinction. Lebalang also attended the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, and is in the early stages of fundraising and inspiring other young people through her own training institution.

Due to the huge success of the project, it was announced that the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation will continue to work with the young ambassadors, mentoring them to achieve the aspirations they developed through the race. Lebalang has also been made spokesperson for the newly founded Sapinda Rainbow Foundation.

The foundation will also run a second programme in the Clipper 2015-16 Race and hopes to build its youth development further into Africa.