Rhodes and Mandela Inspire Student to Great Heights
With two of the most powerful people of their time - Nelson Mandela and Cecil John Rhodes - as patrons, the standard is set high and this inspires one to pursue avenues that will create social wealth and be proactive in solving the problems Africa has as a continent.
So says postgraduate student in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Ms Londiwe Magagula, who is a recipient of a Mandela Rhodes scholarship.
A Mandela Rhodes scholarship carries with it a responsibility for the recipient to be a proactive citizen with character and intellect that Africa will be proud of.
The scholarships provide special opportunities for further study for high academic achievers who possess strong leadership qualities, deep community engagement, a commitment to reconciliation and who reflect a spirit of entrepreneurship.
Magagula is currently pursuing her Master of Science Degree in Ecological Sciences with her project focusing on veld management and fodder production in communal rangelands, proposing alternative fodder production to save natural grazing land.
‘I would like to invest in the education sector for three or four years as a lecturer in higher education,’ said Magagula. ‘As a lecturer I would like to be hands-on in building a well of knowledge, fostering thinking, and shaping scientists that the institution will send out with the mandate to be uncompromisingly dedicated, hardworking and leaders of cutting edge projects to empower and change Africa.
‘I also look forward to working with young people in my community to build a network where we can invest different resources back into the community, such as IT resources at schools, scholarships for students with potential, and sports facilities. Moving into the private sector I would like to work with companies in compliance and in policy development.’
The foundation runs three development workshops for every recipient of the scholarship and deals specifically with the principles underpinning the scholarship.
Discussing her experiences at the workshops, Magagula said they had been nothing short of magical. ‘We had the opportunity to meet the executive committee and other staff members assisting with the running of the programme as a whole. The workshops include developing skills in self leadership and reconciliation. The last one in the first week of September will be on entrepreneurship.’
She said she had been inspired by her lecturers early on in her studies. ‘I think the moment that inspired greatness in me was the passion with which my lecturers taught us. It made it easy for me to join in discussions and build interest in different topics which I then read up in my spare time.’
Magagula is deeply grateful to the Rhodes staff and donors who have helped her find her ‘authentic self’ and taught her that she can be vulnerable. ‘At the foundation they care more about the person and growing them to maximise their talents than about increasing intake numbers – that is something I could not get anywhere else.’
Commenting, the Director of K-Rith, Dr William Bishai, said: ‘We need to do everything we can to bolster the next generation of African scientists and give them the best chance possible to contribute towards solving these global problems. Our goal is to enable each individual to develop to their full potential and to support these young scientists as they progress to becoming independent researchers. We hope that these grants will lead to new collaborations and hopefully the strengthening of global and intra-Africa partnerships.’