The E35 Foundation cooperates with South Africa within the context of historical relations between Reggio Emilia and the African nation, dating back to the first half of the 70s and the support that the Municipality offered to the anti-apartheid and freedom movements of Southern Africa. The commitment of the city of Reggio Emilia has always been aimed at supporting the wars of independence and protection of human rights to fight inequalities. The United Nations invoke this example in the official publications of the Center against Apartheid, stating that “Reggio Emilia is the first city in the world that was fighting against the apartheid regime”. The Mayor of Reggio Emilia, Antonella Spaggiari, attended the ceremony in Pretoria for establishment of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa.
Nowadays, the E35 Foundation is involved in numerous fields of cooperation along with other local actors, such as Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Chamber of Commerce, Cna, C.R.P.A., Legacoop Emilia Ovest, Tavolo Reggio-Africa, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Unindustria. In South Africa, indeed, the main partners are the Gauteng Province, City of Ekhuruleni, Gauteng Development Agency, Johannesbourg Development Agency, Hip Alliance, University of Fort Hare and Tjhebelopele Cooperative.
The main projects are connected to initiatives for the development of partnerships in various sectors, including economy (especially on agriculture and agri-food processing), education (through youth empowerment, sport and exchanges between universities), and culture (with particular reference to policies for participation and preservation of historical memory). Among the various collaborations and partnerships, the Pact of Friendship between Rugby Reggio and Gauteng Lions (South African rugby team, coming from the region of the Prime Minister Makhura), the project AgricoltuRE for sustainability, energy and nourishment (www.reggioexpo2015.it/agricolture), the Archive Reggio-Africa (www.municipio.re.it/reggioafrica), that gathered documents, pictures and testimonies of the fight against apartheid, stand out.
The main areas of interest, where these projects are realized, are the city of Johannesbourg, the Gauteng Province (the most industrialized and the richest province of the country) and the Eastern Cape Province with which many exchanges and collaborations are active, especially with the university of Fort Hare and some agricultural cooperatives.