“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
These are wise words spoken by a man who is an inspiration to people around the world and a champion of human rights for all and sundry. He has fought for many rights, but the right to quality education for everyone, has formed an integral component of his campaigning.
Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902) was a British business person in South Africa, who went on to become the Prime Minister of Cape Colony. Today, he is recognized globally for his legacy of the Rhodes Scholarship Program, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious programs that grants post-doctoral awards to outstanding students at the University of Oxford.
Pioneers of Academic Excellence
Founded in 2003, Cecil Rhodes’s vision of fostering future leaders of the world was integrated with Nelson Mandela’s vision of a prosperous Africa and this Foundation was set up, with a vision of ‘Building Exceptional Leadership in Africa.’ The occasion marked a 100 years of success for the Rhodes Foundation and the Rhodes Trust hoped to commemorate the occasion by giving back to the land, which was the original source of its own endowment. Cecil Rhodes founded a number of successful companies in South Africa (De Beers, Gold Fields, BSAC) that support the Rhodes Foundation to date. The Trust also wished to mark the transformation of South Africa by honoring the principal architect of that transformation: Nelson Mandela.
The Mandela Rhodes Foundation
This leadership development program for Africa, was established by agreement between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Rhodes Trust. The main purpose of this initiative is to offer Mandela Rhodes Scholarships to African students planning to enroll in postgraduate study in South African universities, while simultaneously providing further leadership development opportunities for Mandela Rhodes Scholars.
The program aims to foster entrepreneurship and develop leadership and vocational capacity across African society, in order to help the continent achieve success and prosperity and compete at par in the global economy.
This year marked the transition to an online application portal (via the Embark application system) for the MRS program. Applications were invited from May 1st to June 15th earlier this year. The selection process comprises of three rounds:
- Long-listing of South African tertiary institutions and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
- Shortlisting by designated MRF staff.
- Panel interviews with Selection Committees.
All students between the ages of 19-30 years and holding African citizenship are eligible to apply to this program. If selected, a candidate can apply for postgraduate study at any South African university or tertiary institution (Honors and Masters degrees only). Students must have a strong academic background and reflect a moral affinity with the four principles of Education, Reconciliation, Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
MRF Scholars are characterized as individuals whose character and intellect Africa will take pride in. They are the hope and the future of an entire continent, equipped with the strength and courage to empower a nation by inspiring and developing their fellow human beings.
Written by: Dr. Salina Unus
She is a Rhodes Scholar who graduated from Oxford in 2001. She completed her post-doctoral degree in Humanities from the Ruskin School of Art. She is passionate freelance academic writer at www.bestessaywriting.com and has travelled all over the world with her work appearing in numerous international publications.