In 2001, President Nelson Mandela personally invited President Clinton to South Africa to speak about the vital role young people and citizen service play in strengthening a society. The two believed that, despite the country’s significant social and economic challenges, South Africa had enough energy and optimism to build a national, youth-centered model for civic engagement.
Following that visit, City Year South Africa was launched as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action in 2005, and to date, more than 1,300 young idealists from diverse backgrounds have answered the call to public service. City Year corps members—young people between the ages of 18 and 24—work for a full year as tutors, mentors, and role models in schools in and around Johannesburg, improving their own leadership skills as they provide resources and support to the next generation.
Earlier this month—15 years after President Clinton’s first visit to South Africa when he was president and 12 years since his visit that spurred the program—he returned with Chelsea Clinton to view progress on City Year South Africa's CGI commitment and take part in one of its ongoing service projects in Coronationville, just outside of Johannesburg.
View photos below of President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton touring the service site and meeting South African corps members, with activities that included preparing an area of land for a vegetable garden, repainting a jungle gym, and working with children at an after-school program.