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South African Students Who Won Prestigious Scholarships

Success Stories From SA!

South Africa’s academic prowess is on display once again, with a stellar showing from students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship program.

This year, six out of ten Rhodes Scholars selected from Southern Africa hail from UCT, securing their place at the world-renowned University of Oxford for postgraduate studies.

This achievement underscores the exceptional talent emerging from South Africa’s universities. But the story goes beyond UCT’s dominance. We’ll also meet Rachel Mullins, a rising star from Rhodes University who secured the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Scholarship to pursue vital research in marine science.

Be inspired by these remarkable young individuals who are set to make significant contributions in their chosen fields.

South African Students Who Won Prestigious Scholarships

UCT Students Dominate Rhodes Scholarship 2024 Awards

In 2024, six out of the ten Southern African Rhodes Scholars-Elect are from the University of Cape Town (UCT). These bright minds are set to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford, the world’s top-ranked university, thanks to the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Despite the controversy surrounding its founder, Cecil John Rhodes, the scholarship is one of the most sought-after programs globally. It aims to identify young leaders who will “forge bonds of mutual understanding and fellowship for the betterment of mankind.”

Recipients often go on to make significant contributions in their fields through their exceptional intellectual achievements, leadership, and dedication to public service. Notable alumni include astronomer Edwin Hubble, founder of the Fulbright Scholarship James William Fulbright, and co-founder of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, Ntokozo Qwabe.

Outstanding Scholars from UCT

The Rhodes Trust awards 104 scholarships annually, with 10 allocated to Southern Africa. Scholars are selected for their “outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service.” The selection criteria include:

  • Academic excellence: Literary and scholastic achievements.
  • Mastery of talents: Excellence in areas like sport, music, debate, and artistic pursuits.
  • Philanthropy: A devotion to truth and duty, courage, sympathy for the weak, kindness, and fellowship.
  • Leadership: A natural inclination to lead and a moral force of character.

The scholarship covers all course fees and includes an annual stipend for living expenses, amounting to £1,591 per month (about R36,400) for the 2023/24 academic year.

Meet the 2024 UCT Rhodes Scholars-Elect

  1. Justine Crook-Mansour: Completing her honours in astrophysics, she aims to work at the intersection of computer science and astrophysics. She has been South Africa’s top matriculant and has participated in the Vatican Observatory Summer School in Italy.
  2. Daniel Erasmus: A law student interested in philosophical and political challenges, Erasmus has served as the secretary general of the Students’ Representative Council and has won national moot competitions.
  3. Sagel Kundieko: Pursuing an MSc in Neuroscience, her research focuses on the link between inflammation and epilepsy. Kundieko is involved in several neuroscience societies and mentors science students.
  4. Mothibi Mathivha: Completing a BSc Honours in Physics, Mathivha is interested in the applications of topology to condensed matter physics. He plans to pursue a Master of Science in either mathematical and theoretical physics or mathematical science at Oxford.
  5. Dr. Leago Sebesho: A junior doctor and aspiring clinician-scientist, Dr. Sebesho aims to influence health policy, focusing on issues affecting vulnerable communities. She has earned multiple academic prizes and contributes significantly to youth development.
  6. Dr. Savannah Verhage: A Master of Public Health student, Dr. Verhage combines her passion for clinical medicine with a commitment to creating an equitable healthcare system. She has established several healthcare initiatives and held leadership positions in the healthcare field.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Scholarship

Rachel Mullins, a Masters student from Rhodes University, is one of the three winners of the MSC scholarship, which supports research in marine science. Her project uses sequencing technology to examine population structures of yellowfin tuna in South Africa. The scholarship, valued at up to £4,000, will support her research in environmental improvement and fisheries management.

Ten Southern African Rhodes Scholars Heading to Oxford University

In November 2023, the Rhodes Scholarships for 2024 were awarded to ten exceptional young graduates from Southern Africa.

These scholars, selected for their academic excellence and leadership skills, will join a global community at Oxford University. The selection process involves rigorous interviews and assessments, with scholars chosen for their potential to make a positive impact on society.

Final Thoughts

These success stories highlight the remarkable achievements of South African students who have earned prestigious scholarships.

Their dedication, intellectual prowess, and commitment to leadership and service are truly inspiring. These scholarships not only provide financial support but also open doors to global opportunities, allowing these young leaders to further their education and contribute to their fields.

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