Three UP students awarded Mandela Rhodes scholarships

Posted on December 15, 2015

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation recently announced the names of the 12th cohort of Mandela Rhodes scholars, who will make up the ‘Class of 2016’. From more than 5 500 applications received from across the African continent, only 50 new scholars were selected at the final interviews in Johannesburg and Cape Town in November this year. This brings the total number of scholarships awarded since the programme’s inception in 2004 to 325. The central purpose of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa. During their time as Mandela Rhodes scholars, participants pursue postgraduate studies and participate in customised leadership development programmes. Three students from the University of Pretoria (UP) – Ms Natasha Ashley, Mr Linus Ndambuki and Mr Mosibudi Rasethaba – are among those selected to be part of this elite group of students.

Ms Ashley, who completed her honours degree in Business Management with distinction this year, plans to use the scholarship to complete her master’s degree in Business Management in 2016. She says she applied for the scholarship in order to grow as a leader and change agent, and to be better equipped to serve her country. Furthermore, she hopes that the lessons and skills to which she will be exposed through the programme will be useful in effecting positive change in her community. ‘I am blessed to be given an opportunity to further my education and grow as a leader through exposure to my exceptional fellow Mandela Rhodes scholars from across the African continent. Winning this scholarship is the tangible reward for many years’ hard work perseverance and I hope I can inspire others to continue to pursue their dreams relentlessly,’ she says. Ms Ashley wants to become a leader who can find practical ways to make major contributions to society and industry, in order to move South Africa forward.

Mr Ndambuki completed his BSc Actuarial and Financial Mathematics degree this year and plans to continue with his honours degree in the same field in 2016. He was actively involved in various student societies and committees, both at and outside the University throughout his undergraduate years, and received numerous academic and other awards, including a University of Pretoria Achievers Award in both his first and second years of study. He was also invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society as a result of being one of the top 15% of academic achievers in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Mr Ndambuki says he is extremely humbled by the entire experience of receiving this scholarship, but he firmly believes that with such a great opportunity comes great responsibility. He is excited to be part of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship programme in 2016 and looks forward to working with scholars who are as passionate about Africa as he is and also want to contribute towards making Africa a better place for all its people.

In 2015, Mr Rasethaba served and represented his fellow students at UP as SRC President, which afforded him a unique opportunity to develop his leadership abilities. In this capacity he was responsible for ensuring that his fellow students’ concerns were raised and their needs were met and that their potential was maximised through sustainable projects and initiatives in all spheres of student life. He says that apart from feeling humbled by being selected to receive such an esteemed scholarship, he also felt extremely privileged. ‘This is a great opportunity for me to grow as a leader, both through the training programmes offered by the Foundation, and through the interactions and networks that I will establish with other scholars during the year’, he says. Mr Rasethaba completed his BA Psychology degree this year and plans to continue with his honours degree next year. He has a particular interest in community psychology and counselling, as well as in leadership development, and would like to further his studies in this field on completion of his honours degree. He hopes to make a positive contribution to his community through the skills that he will acquire as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar.


For more information on Mandela Rhodes Scholarship opportunities for the 2017 intake, please contact:

Ms Leanne van Zyl
Postgraduate Scholarship Coordinator
University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 (12) 420 6639 / email: [email protected]

Alternatively visit and click on External bursaries.


- Author Ansa Heyl

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