Karabo Malahleha hopes to be able to lift others as he rises and believes in empowering others through the opportunities that he has received. Picture: Supplied
Karabo Malahleha hopes to be able to lift others as he rises and believes in empowering others through the opportunities that he has received. Picture: Supplied

Meet the SA recipients of the 2022 Nelson Mandela Rhodes Scholarships

By Jolene Marriah-Maharaj Time of article published Nov 10, 2021

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Durban: Five South African are part of the 30 students to have qualified for the 2022 Mandela Rhodes Scholarship programme.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is one of Nelson Mandela’s three official legacy organisations.

The organisation’s purpose is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa.

For the first time, students from Somalia and South Sudan will join the programme.

The scholars will undertake postgraduate studies in South Africa in fields ranging from Education to Human Rights Law and Architecture.

“They will further their education while becoming part of Nelson Mandela’s legacy of transformative impact through our Leadership Development Programme,” said Communications Officer Ayanda Radebe.

To date, 588 Mandela Rhodes Scholarships have been awarded to students from 32 African countries.

“Our scholarship is open to students from all African countries. We continue to work towards realising Mr Mandela’s vision of developing exceptional leadership capacity for the African continent.”

The five South African students are: Karabo Malahleha, Sharna Fester, Nadia Van Der Merwe, Mikhaila Steenkamp and Thobeka Mnisi.

Karabo Malahleha holds a Bachelor of Business Science specialising in Finance with Accounting from the University of Cape Town. He is also an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow and a former recipient of the Investec CSI Bursary.

During his year in residence, he will be studying towards a Post-Graduate Diploma in Accounting. Karabo hopes to uplift others as he rises and believes in empowering others through the opportunities that he has received. In his spare time, he enjoys exercising, serving in his local church and loves exploring the wide range of activities that Cape Town has had to offer.

Sharna Fester. Picture: Supplied

Sharna Fester is an alumnus of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Programme at the University of Cape Town. This year, Fester studied towards a Honours degree in African Studies, and prior to that, she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences, majoring in African Studies and Politics & Governance.

During her year in residence, she hopes to pursue a Master’s in Justice & Transformation (specialising in conflict resolution) at the University of Cape Town. Through her studies, Sharna hopes to serve the African continent and people by contributing to African unity and stability on the continent.

Nadia Van Der Merwe.

Nadia Van Der Merwe holds a Bachelor of social sciences in psychology and anthropology from the North-West University. As a Mandela Rhodes scholar, she will be pursuing her honours in Social Anthropology. She is deeply passionate about making mental health interventions more accessible and applicable in South Africa. She believes that the current mental healthcare system is inadequate in the face of isolating circumstances, overwhelming socio-economic difficulties and the stress of living in today’s world.

Mikhaila Steenkamp. Picture: Supplied

Mikhaila Steenkamp is an educationalist. She is committed to using her expertise in the education and development fields to contribute to the creation of a more equitable, inclusive, and self-actualised society.

As a Mandela Rhodes scholar, Mikhaila will continue pursuing a Master of Education in Education Policy, Leadership and Change at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Mikhaila has become particularly interested in how teachers can best be supported to develop, and exercise their agency to empower their students, and to build bridges across cultures.

Thobeka Mnisi. Picture: Supplied

Thobeka Mnisi is an aspiring public policymaker focusing on education. Up until 2021, she had been a University Guidance Fellow at African Leadership Academy, where she ushers students from 36 countries across the African continent to universities around the world. Thobeka is also a 2013 graduate of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

She studied at Oberlin College (OC) '18, where she majored in Politics with an International Studies Concentration and a Rhetoric and Composition minor and graduated Magna Cum Laude. While at Oberlin, she also served as Chair of Student Senate, worked as an associate in the Writing Centre, and tutored high school students through the Ninde Scholars Programme. Her Honours Thesis, for which she earned High Honours, explored the foundational symptoms of poverty that militate against educational access and progress in public schools through the Oberlin College Research Fellowship.


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