About Us

History of the Nelson Mandela

Community Youth Centre

The Nelson Mandela Community Youth Centre (NMYC) was opened in October 2003 by the late former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Situated in the sprawling township of Chatsworth with a population of almost 500 000 people, the NMCYC has become a hub for all forms of activity to uplift the youth and the community at large.

A tragic incident in Chatsworth in 2001 led to a public outcry and the coming together of the community to appeal to Nelson Mandela to help build the youth centre. The incident occurred when young people attending a ‘dance matinee’ at a local nightclub were caught in a stampede that led to the death of 13 children, some as young as 10-years old. The residents outcry and plea for a safe haven for youth activity, led Mandela to solicit funding for the building of the Youth Centre.

In 2018, the Nelson Mandela Foundation gave the Chatsworth Youth Centre Trust the go ahead to rename the centre after the late Mr Nelson Mandela. The youth centre was renamed to the “Nelson Mandela Community Youth Centre”.

Aim of the NMCYC

The aim of the Youth Centre is to create a safe and secure environment for young people, with the intention of producing young leaders who would play an important role in our society.

NMCYC Programmes

Almost 15-years later, the NMCYC has become a hive of activity for young people from different race groups and cultural backgrounds. The centre is run fully by volunteers from the community and activities are free of charge. These dedicated volunteers play a valuable role by utilising their skills to run specific programmes and develop various codes of sport. The centre works with over 200-primary and secondary schools from Chatsworth and surrounding areas including Welbedact, Marianhill, Wentworth, Merebank, Lamontville, Umlazi and Queensburgh. Drugs, crime, promiscuity, early school drop-out and unemployment are common problems amongst the youth. The Youth Centre plays a pivotal role in implementing advocacy and sporting programmes, lifestyle programmes, skills development courses and the setting up of clubs to drive projects. Today, thousands of youth utilise the centre for extra-curricular activities and find it a safe place to hang out with other youth. We also work with community organisations, businesses and government departments to help drive programmes.

There are various sporting codes: chess, karate, table-tennis, boxing, basketball, volleyball, badminton, wrestling, netball, ballroom dancing and more. There are awareness programmes empowering youth on issues of drugs, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy, our country’s constitution, the justice system, suicide prevention and other topics. There are clubs that concentrate on specific areas – girl guides, health, environment, counselling, poetry, art, history, tuition and more. Skills development programmes empower out of school and unemployed youth with computer skills, building skills such as plastering, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and painting. An annual Careers Expo is held every year at the NMCYC.

Challenges & Constraints

As set down in the Trust Deed of the NMCYC when opened by Nelson Mandela, no person usingthe centre would pay for any of the services provided or activities they participate in. The centre goes as far as providing the equipment needed for the different codesof sport or activity. Sustaining the centre has become a tremendous challenge with regard to this clause in the Trust Deed. Funding for different programmes or maintaining the centre is sourced from individuals in the community, organisations or businesses. The funding for maintaining the centre is limited and the centre is in urgent need of renovation and refurbishment.

“In every community, there is work to be done.
In every nation, there are wounds to heal.
In every heart, there is the power to do it…..”
– Marianne Williamson
Clive Pillay • Programme Coordinator


The Nelson Mandela Community Youth Centre is committed to women and children empowerment through various leadership programmes


The centre is non-racial centre hosting a range of programmes for all ages, and genders


The centre is a champion for righting the inequalities created by apartheid in the education system. The annual career expo is but one of the initiatives undertaken by the youth centre


The centre strives to form partnerships with technology companies in the greater Durban area to ensure that technology and technology literacy is driven as part of the centre’s goals