Humanities Student Awarded Prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship
Mr Mfundo Mdletshe, a Development Studies student from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) was recently awarded the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship.
‘I am thrilled to be joining a community of high calibre scholars. And despite what some might think, given the recent events around the questioning of the Rhodes legacy, I am excited about being associated with a scholarship that bears the names of seemingly two distinct men. I certainly look forward to grappling with the legacies of both Mr Mandela and Mr Rhodes with my new classmates,’ said Mdletshe.
The scholarship will assist him financially and represents a beacon of hope for him to pursue his postgraduate studies.
‘Without the scholarship, I would have become part of the statistics of regrettably financially excluded students. I do not only carry my dreams but those of my family too. As such this scholarship will not only positively contribute to my life (through financial resources and the leadership programme) but will indirectly positively contribute to the lives of my family members too,’ he added.
The Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship aims to help build new generations of exceptional leaders in Africa based on the principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship and leadership.
‘I think this is a bold vision and one that requires a lot of determination to achieve. Africa needs to take ownership of its story and draft its own identity. In the face of on-going debates on transformation of the South African society at large, the unfortunate recent xenophobic attacks, and the call to integrate the African continent, I think more scholarships that believe in Africa and promote critical thinking amongst its recipients are needed more than ever,’ he added.
Mdletshe has been at UKZN for the past four years and feels that it mirrors the harsh reality of South African society. ‘On one hand there are students you can tell come from the position of privilege. On the other hand UKZN attracts a pool of disadvantaged students. It thus made sense for me to read for my Masters in Development Studies in this very Institution.’
‘But over and above that, before applying for this degree I did take some time and researched about the discipline of Development Studies at UKZN and I’m still being impressed by the well-read academic staff of this Discipline to this day,’ he said.
He further thanked the scholarships committee and his family and friends for their constant support and love. His advice to other students: ‘Keep doing the good work you are doing in your society. You are making a difference in someone’s life and that’s what matters.’