Rural communities received a major boost when the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development was launched at the East London City Hall on Friday.
The institute (NMI) is a partnership of the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), Eastern Cape education department and the University of Fort Hare.
"Rural communities need to be changed to vibrant communities, they also need new technology like the Internet," said Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife, to guests at the function.
Eastern Cape Premier Nosimo Balindlela said: "We have been to India and Korea to check the model that can be used to develop education. I believe that the NMI model is going to take us somewhere," Balindlela said.
US singer Harry Belafonte, who was among the prominent figures who attended the function, announced a contribution of about R708million to fund the NMI's programmes.