At a time when a lack of leadership in Africa is often bemoaned, most recently as a reason for the worst recorded Ebola outbreak, news of foundations and scholarships set on building leadership excellence in Africa comes as welcome reassurance that there is yet reason for hope in our continent.
On 5 November 2014 the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation received word that nine of its beneficiaries have been awarded prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarships. “Considering we have only ever had one other Mandela Rhodes Scholar in our history, this is an extraordinary achievement,” said Foundation CEO, Anthony Farr.
A Mandela Rhodes Scholarship award allows recipients to pursue a postgraduate degree in their chosen field of study as well as giving them access to leadership development programmes. A stringent selection process ensures that recipients exhibit both academic excellence and leadership potential. The fact that more than 20% of the Mandela Rhodes Scholars for 2015 have come through the ranks of the Allan Gray Fellowship testifies to the effectiveness of this programme and the calibre of person it produces.
The complete list of the 2014 Foundation Mandela Rhodes Scholars (both Allan Gray Fellows, who have already graduated, and Candidate Allan Gray Fellows, who are in the process of completing their undergraduate courses) are, in alphabetical order: Ameil Harikishun, Francois Becker, Joseph Maisels, Kyla Hazell, Luthando Lulu Mzilikazi, Richard Bryce, Selokwane Morake, Senzile Daniel Ndima and Zikhona Ngumbela.
The fields of study that these young men and women will be pursuing are quite diverse, ranging from Commerce and Business Management in Joseph and Zikhona’s case to Biochemistry and Structural Biochemistry for Selokwane and Senzile.
Of her anticipated Mandela Rhodes experience, Zikhona says, “I look forward to lasting interactions with young leaders across Africa … I look forward to my leadership development and learning from these leaders.” Selokwane in turn hopes “to grow in terms of entrepreneurial mindset in order to play an active role in moving scientific innovations into opportunities that will lead to economic change for the benefit of South Africa.”
It is through the joint efforts of organisations like the Allan Gray Orbis and Mandela Rhodes Foundations that we can look forward to the positive influence of high-impact entrepreneurial leaders in the near future.