Kwazakhele-born Siyanda Qoto, 23, will be pursuing a Masters in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, while Natalya Apopo, also 23, will be pursuing a BCom Honours in Economics.
The pair went through a rigorous selection process that saw more than 8500 registrations of interest whittled down to only 52 students from all over the African continent.
“What is encouraging with the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for me is that unlike most scholarships I know of, it goes beyond merely fulfilling financial obligations,” Siyanda said.
“As scholars in residence, we are hosted to workshops that help us identify with the scholarship’s pillars – leadership, education, reconciliation and entrepreneurship, which help us tap into our leadership capacity. This is important because we are being prepared to orientate our life and career goals towards the betterment of the African continent.”
Apopo said she looks forward to meeting great people, as the whole experience would broaden her perspective on life.
“I am thankful for being given an opportunity to learn from other African leaders. The knowledge I will gain will help me grow as a person, and I will in turn use that knowledge to help grow Africa,” she said.
The Mandela Rhodes Foundation aims to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa by offering fully funded scholarships for Honours and Masters studies. This includes a year-long leadership development programme based on the Foundation’s four principles – leadership, education, reconciliation and entrepreneurship.
Among the stringent criteria applicants should meet is a history of academic results that are well above average as well as traits that reflect commitment to the four principles.
In addition to covering tuition and study material costs, the scholarship will provide allowances for accommodation and meals, travel, medical aid and a personal allowance.
Siyanda and Natalya join a host of NMMU students who were recipients of the scholarship.
NMMU Alumnus and 2007 Mandela Rhodes Scholar Judy Sikuza made history last year as the first Mandela Rhodes Scholar to hold a senior position at the Foundation, where she was later appointed Programme Director.
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