On the 14th July 2023, scholars, the management team, and the esteemed guest speakers, with a sense of awe and gratitude, gathered at Future Africa to embark on a journey of reflection, inspiration, and empowerment. The conference, a testament to the visionary partnership between the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP) and the University of Pretoria (UP), signalled not only a celebration of the Program's illustrious history but also a launching pad for even greater achievements in the years to come.
As the opening remarks echoed through the grand hall, a mosaic of voices intertwined, each representing a unique chapter in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program narrative. From humble beginnings to widespread impact, the conference offered a platform for stories of triumph, resilience, and dreams realized. It was a time for introspection, reconnecting with the Program's roots, and envisioning a future brimming with possibilities.
In this, Dr. Grace Ramafi, Program Manager of MCFSP at UP, stressed that in a decade of incredible dedication to uplifting the Scholars, the Program is now running on 397 Scholars, in which 26 African countries are represented. She further gleefully illustrated that most of those who are now alumni find employment within three months after finishing their degrees, while some are overseas as exchange students or pursuing their doctorate degrees, and it is owing to the game-changing platform that the Scholars are presented within the Program.
The conference invited four renowned speakers. Ms. Claire Sutherland, A founding Licensed Associate of the Impostor Syndrome Institute, covered a topic about dealing with impostor syndrome. Her insights on impostor syndrome seem to resonate with Scholars. They related to having the belief that they are not intelligent enough and externalize their success to numerous factors such as luck/timing, simplicity (if I can do it, anybody can do it), or connections/help.
Mr. Bruce Dube, Managing Director of Nine80 Digital, focused on Multifaceted Entrepreneurship. He delivered a captivating and empowering dialogue; sharing profound insights, personal stories and essential strategies for success in entrepreneurship. He emphasized the importance of networking and building strong connections and encouraging Scholars to step out of their comfort zones to create a robust professional network.
Mrs. Cheryl Benadie, Director and Author of Whole Person Institute Seeking Funding Opportunities. Mrs. Benadie delivered a compelling and introspective talk, delving into the concept of the whole self and identity, which in turn helps greatly in managing finances. The speaker explored self-discovery and personal growth, encouraging the audience to reinvent themselves and craft a purpose statement to guide their endeavours.
The last speaker was Prof. Moloko Cholo, Associate Professor at UP spoke about ‘doing research well’. She shared an insight on how Scholars can best approach the research.
The conference fostered a conducive environment of scholarly growth and development, where the Scholars seized the opportunity to present and enhance their research endeavours, leveraging the collective wisdom and expertise of their peers, mentors and esteemed guests.
By Kananelo Khoali
Mastercard Foundation Scholars