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Meet the Scholars
Home > Meet the Scholars > 2017 Cohort

2017 Cohort

Undergraduate Scholars

Funwako Bakhile Dlamini

Funwako Bakhile Dlamini is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work. He is an experienced, self-motivated young person with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit and management industries. He is skilled in fund-raising, programme development and community engagement. Funwako has worked with various non-governmental organisations, including SHAWCO Education at UCT. Furthermore, has begun a small start-up (a social enterprise) called Adopt a Child, which focuses on providing school uniforms, mentorship and food parcels to disadvantaged communities in the Kingdom of eSwatini and parts of Mbombela, South Africa. Funwako holds various prestigious awards of recognition including bronze and silver awards from the President's Awards Programme founded by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. He has been nominated to the Golden Key Society for top university achievers and is a candidate for the 2017 Humanities Faculty's Dean's Merit list. Furthermore, Funwako has a deep interest in world politics, world history, international development, international policy and their influence on Africa as a developing continent. 


Macharia Willie

Willie Macharia
Willie Macharia was an undergraduate scholar who pursued a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is passionate about ethical and transformative leadership, and attended the Baobab Summit 2017 in Johannesburg, courtesy of the Mastercard Foundation. There he learned a great deal about how to be a responsible leader. At UCT, he was an active scholar leader. He was the class representative for three courses and was part of the Chair's Advisory Group for the Engineering and the Built Environment faculty, as well as the Scholars' Council at UCT. Through these positions, he was able to interact with other leaders who shared a vision of ethical leadership. Willie was involved in various community outreach activities through student societies. He was a member of Engineers Without Borders and Enactus. In church, he was part of the Adopt a School project where he volunteered to teach grade 9.


Ibibia Joseph-George

Ibibia Joseph-George is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in the social sciences. Ibibia has been involved in many social outreach programmes and has led interventionist programmes in his community while at UCT. Ibibia is a member of AIESEC-UCT, GENSHIKEN, the History and Current Affairs Society, the Nigerian Scholars Association and the United Nations Association of South Africa. Ibibia plans to use his degree and experiences as tools to help him transform his community and country for the better


Charlotte Musinga

Charlotte Musinga is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in construction studies. She is passionate about advocacy and empowering women and girls, especially in the construction and engineering fields where she hopes to attain expertise. This passion led her to co-found the first Ugandan Girl Up Club, a campaign under the United Nations Foundation. She is also working as a reporter for the campaign on the Team Strong platform. Her appointment to the Chair’s Advisory Group for the Engineering and the Built Environment scholars' council at UCT has enhanced her passion for governance and policy-making. The positions of responsibility she currently holds at the university, such as orientation leader for the International Academics Programs Office, inspire her to be a conscious and empowered individual who advocates for the economic, social, political liberation of African young women and men through entrepreneurship that adds sustainable value to Africa and her people. 


Kudzai Chivero

Kudzai Chivero is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in actuarial science. Kudzai has a love for applying mathematical tools to problem-solving in the real world and positively influencing others. Back in his home country, Kudzai has been an active Joshualite (a recipient of the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship), inspiring the world and changing lives by partaking in several community engagements. As a Mastercard scholar, Kudzai intends to continue this good work by going back to Zimbabwe after his studies to help mould the country's crumbling economic system as an actuary because he believes it is his generation's responsibility to make a better future. He is grateful to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme for the opportunity to finish his studies and be of value to society.



Ridgewell Hloniphani Nunu

Ridgewell Hloniphani Nunu is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work. He completed his O Level in 2012 at Inyanda High School and pursued his education at Luveve High School in Zimbabwe where he studied an A Level qualification in arts from 2013 to 2014. Three years later, he joined the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and moved to South Africa. 

Ridgewell is a SHAWCO volunteer who teaches grade 8 scholars English in Khayelitsha and he is a volunteer and participant coordinator for the Stepping Out Project at SHAWCO. He hopes to graduate in 2020 and go back home as a leader prepared to develop his community.

Brighton Tandabantu

Brighton Tandabantu is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He attained impressive academic and honorary achievements from Mount Selinda High School. Having served as the school’s head boy, and as president and initiator of the Quiz Club at his previous school, Brighton is interactively engaged with the UCT SHAWCO team that focuses on providing informal education to high-school and junior-school scholars in townships around Cape Town. He has a burning desire to keep moulding his own leadership qualities as well as those of the people around him. With this, he hopes to serve a great deal in the communal and national upliftment of his country, Zimbabwe. Brighton plans to mitigate the dire electricity challenges currently besetting Zimbabwe using his engineering expertise as a tool. One of his myriad dreams is to build a huge power plant in Zimbabwe that will help see the economy of the country revived again. 


Maneno A. Mgwami

Maneno A. Mgwami is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a degree in electrical and computer engineering at UCT. He has skills in HTML, CSS, Python and Java programming. He used his programming skills to create the first version of his website (www.picademy.org) for his upcoming give-back project. Maneno plans to take up control and communication engineering during his third and fourth years of study, so that he can combine these skills with his existing programming skills to create a good . 


Kundai Clayton Chatambudza is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering. His career vision is to someday contribute to the economic growth of his home country, Zimbabwe, through his knowledge. He is passionate about making people aware of the pivotal role that technological innovation and engineering can play in furthering and resuscitating struggling economies in Africa. He plans to establish a computer science institution to provide free computer studies to rural communities and townships in Zimbabwe. He believes that with access to education, everyone has a chance to succeed. During his time in high school, Kundai taught his juniors mathematics and science subjects. Furthermore, he achieved exceptional grades and awards for both academic and co-curricular activities. He was the best O-Level scholar at Founders High School for the 2013 final examinations. During the last two years of his high school career, at Mpopoma High, he held a number of leadership positions. He was the captain of the chess club, vice president of the Debate and Public Speaking Club and also events coordinator for the One-Heart Charity Club. Despite having the privilege to serve in these leadership positions, he believes that leadership is not about the position that one holds; rather, it is about ambition and influence.


Blessing Masiyakurima is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a degree in social work. She completed her O Level and A Level at Vhembe High School in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe. At her high school, Blessing was financially supported by Camfed – the Campaign for Female Education – and was a learner guide for the organisation. Camfed planted in Blessing a seed of developing the social and economic independence of young African women, which is the same principle that she wants to uphold for girls who come from a socially and economically disadvantaged communities where they were forced to give up their dreams due to the challenging situations they faced. She sees her degree as a stepping stone towards her future goal of empowering young girls to be better leaders of tomorrow's generation and independent.




Bredah Musili Nzuki is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. She is a confident, determined and hardworking young individual who has demonstrated ability and passion in her previous work and achievements. She is involved in various leadership positions, such as serving as the Green Campus Initiative portfolio representative for Tugwell Hall Residence and holds a diplomat position for the East Africa Society. In addition to creating and running a blog, she has recently launched the Everyday Show where she facilitates conversations among university scholars with the aim of voicing the daily issues they experience.


Marylouise Chambu is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social science. She grew up in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, and had always wanted to come to UCT, one of most prestigious universities on the continent. She knew UCT would provide the strongest bridge towards her goals of being a qualified and renowned economist and a social innovator on the African continent.


Riaaz Paulse is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. He plans to apply his engineering acumen, systems acuity and leadership talents to launch projects to bring about significant change in his and many other economically disadvantaged communities. This self-driven and motivated young man has many interests in entrepreneurial and voluntary services at UCT and is part of various societies, including SHAWCO UCT, InvestSoc and Engineers Without Borders. With his positive attitude towards life and the ability to influence transformation, Riaaz aims to become one of the next great leaders.


Nida Cariem


Postgraduate Scholars


Ayanda Mahlaba

Ayanda Mlungisi Godgive Mahlaba
Ayanda Mlungisi Godgive Mahlaba was a postgraduate scholar who pursued a master’s degree in Historical Studies. Ayanda holds an honours degree in Public Policy and Administration (2016) and a Bachelor of Social Science with majors in International Relations, Industrial Sociology, and Public Policy and Administration (2015), both obtained from UCT. In addition to being an avid reader of African literature, Ayanda aspires to bridge the intractable gaps between academy, society and the state as reflected by his intellectual interests and involvement with numerous community outreach initiatives and scholar-led development programmes at UCT. He has also worked with high school learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, notably, Teach-Out, Inkanyezi and Ubunye.

Read Ayanda Mahlaba's complete profile here.

Stephanie Achieng

Stephanie Achieng
Stephanie Achieng was a postgraduate scholar who pursued a master’s degree in Environment and Sustainable Development. As a program management intern at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Stephanie led a group of interns to promote environmental consciousness among staff within the UN complex in Nairobi. She was awarded a certificate in recognition of her outstanding service to the UN. In high school, Stephanie served as captain of her high school’s handball team. At UCT she was the class representative for her master's cohort. She is an environmental enthusiast, as evidenced by her engagement in a number of conservation projects in Kenya. She volunteered with the Green Campus Initiative at UCT, which provides members with the opportunity to develop creative solutions to on-going environmental challenges. She also tutored undergraduates in the Department of Environmental & Geographical Science. Stephanie is passionate about emerging environmental issues, especially climate change and adaptation in Africa, and aspires to impact society positively through liaising with NGOs to empower vulnerable communities to develop dynamic and informed solutions to their complex, intertwined and manifold challenges while sustainably using their natural resources.


Faith Mushilundu Lutomia

Faith Mushilundu Lutomia
Faith Mushilundu Lutomia was a postgraduate scholar who pursued a master’s degree in Medical Microbiology (by dissertation). Her master's research examined the human microbiome, the collective genomes of the trillions of microorganisms that live inside or on the human body, and how it affects human health and disease through causation or association. Her research equipped her with the skills required to understand how the microbiome is related to various disease conditions and how this knowledge can be used in developing therapeutic treatment which would provide better preventive and treatment outcomes and lead to reduced health-care costs. She hopes to use the knowledge she gained to a make positive impact in her community, her country and Africa, with a focus on preventive therapy and care for microbiome-related health conditions.


Dumsile Nontokozo Maduna

Dumsile Nontokozo Maduna
Dumsile Nontokozo Maduna was a postgraduate Scholar who pursued a master’s degree in Public Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health Sciences. Dumsile is motivated to make a difference in young people’s lives through leadership and mentoring. During her undergraduate degree, she served as a Christian movement leader, where she coordinated community outreach, hospital and prison visits. She also served as a national youth leader at the African Evangelical Church. She worked as an infection control supervisor for Médecins Sans Frontières’s Operational Centre in Amsterdam and as a drug-resistant survey clinical research coordinator for the Swaziland National Tuberculosis Control Programme. As the first born in her family, and raised by a single parent, Dumsile aims to be a role model and an inspiration to young people to achieve their dreams limitlessly. She also envisions using her passion for health research to bring change in the field of public health in her country.




Okpara Michael Obinna

Okpara Michael Obinna
Okpara Michael Obinna was a postgraduate scholar who pursued a master’s degree in Medical Biochemistry and Structural Biology at UCT. His research focus was on investigating the potential of nuclear transport proteins as biomarkers for cervical and oesophageal cancers. Michael was born in Lagos State, Nigeria. He attained secondary education at Razeva College, where he graduated top of his class with eight distinctions in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination. He was a recipient of the Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate Scholarship in 2010, and graduated with a first-class honours degree in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria, where he was the valedictorian of his academic set. He was a recipient of the Stephen Oluwole Awokoya Foundation for Science Education postgraduate scholarship in Nigeria in 2015. During his time in the National Youth Service Corps programme, he was the general secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency and he also taught mathematics and chemistry at the Anglican Girls’ Grammar School in Ogun State. After his National Youth Service, he was offered a post as graduate assistant at the Federal University of Technology.


Hilda Namakula

Hilda Namakula
Hilda Namakula was a postgraduate scholar pursuing a degree in Sociology. Hilda holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Makerere University, Uganda. She co-founded two organisations, Youth Rescue and I Have a Future, which support marginalised young people in reaching economic empowerment through life skills and mentorship. Hilda was also an alumnus of the Young Africa Leaders Initiative and a consultant for meaningful youth engagement, working to support various donors, including the Mastercard Foundation, in youth-focused project proposals.


Chipampata Musonda

Chipampata Musonda
Chipampata Musonda was a postgraduate Scholar who pursued a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. He was involved in developmental planning and ways to incorporate local communities as part of the process with the goal that they determine the development of their own environment. He has been involved in the formulation of Ward Development Committees, or community-led local governance structures focused on restructuring the governance system. It is because of this interest in working with local communities and their role in the governance process (from a development planning perspective) that he decided to further his qualifications as an urban planner. Prior to joining the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Musonda completed an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the Copperbelt University in Zambia, and an honours degree in City Planning at UCT. He was a recipient of the Obz Square Residence 2016 Merit Award, the 2016 Studio-A Project Best Local Area Plan Award from the Western Cape government, and the Architect, Engineers, Planners and Surveyor Society Best Project Award for 2016. His research interest is planning and provision of infrastructure.


Natalia Dambe

Natalia Dambe
Natalia Dambe pursued a master’s degree in Geomatics. Her research focused on modelling floods in Malawi. In 2016, Natalia completed her bachelor’s (honours) degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at UCT as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Land Surveying from the University of Malawi. Natalia completed a two-month internship with the Regional Centre for Mapping in Nairobi, Kenya, where she undertook a project designating specific flood areas in the Chikwawa district, Malawi. She worked as a scholar tutor for advanced GIS in the UCT Geomatics Department. Prior to this, she tutored elementary surveying, introduction to GIS and programming in GIS in the Geomatics Department. Natalia has also worked in the land surveying and construction industry as an apprentice land surveyor for Shire Construction Company in Malawi from 2012 to 2013, and for Blantyre Water Board as an intern in 2014. She believes in youth development as a key to a stable and bright future and facilitates the Nyanga Tutoring Program for the fantastic and brilliant youths from grade 6 to 12 in the Nyanga community.


Chipampata Musonda

Astridah Samupwa
Astridah Samupwa pursued a master’s degree in Digital Curation. After she matriculated from high school, Astridah went to the University of Namibia where she studied a diploma in Information Studies followed by an honour’s degree in Library and Information Science. She was a member of societies such as NamSoc, a Namibian society which carries out charity work in and around Cape Town, and the Seventh Day Adventist Student Movement, a religious society that carries out charity work and spreads the gospel. Astridah aims to use the skills and knowledge she has gained to uplift her country in information and knowledge management through digital curation of research data, beginning at her workplace, extending to information centres around the country and the public. It is her intention to further her studies and focus more on research data management. Using tools such as social media, and possibly national media, Astridah uses her spare time to create awareness of the importance of research data management.


Nondumiso Shongwe
Nondumiso Shongwe pursued a master’s degree in Biomedical Forensic Sciences. She is a hard-working, dedicated, conscientious young Swazi woman with a goal of improving herself, and in turn, inspiring the people around her. She has a passion for learning about science-related topics and other subjects that broaden her scope. Nondumiso aims to build a vast network and improve her leadership skills. She believes that an interdisciplinary approach is necessary when it comes to solving issues, which is where the vast network comes in. She is passionate about facilitating the coming together of young, ambitious people to become a self-sustaining generation, and in turn, lead the development of African countries.


Monica Damane
Monica Damane pursued a master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering and is passionate about the development of rural communities. Her research interest was the provision of recommendations for suitable foundations and construction methods to mitigate the prevailing failure of houses in Mount Moorosi in Lesotho. She has been involved in numerous community services, including as an HIV/AIDS peer educator at Maseribane High School, and volunteering as a cook and tutor at an orphanage in Maseru. Monica has experience in civil engineering projects, such as the construction of a 140-metre bridge between Phamong and Mount Moorosi. She has also worked for Groundwater Engineering Consultants as a rural water supply design trainee. She was a geotechnical engineering academic tutor for second and third-year undergraduate students at UCT. Monica believes in farming and her dream is to improve the economy of African countries through engineering technologies and agriculture.


Lelia Nelson
Lelia Nelson pursued a master's degree in Sustainable Mineral Resources Development. He is driven by the desire to contribute to the positive transformation of the mining landscape in Africa. Lelia is passionate about education and has been actively involved in mentoring youth from his community. He launched an online mentorship platform, Careerdue, in collaboration with fellow Mastercard Foundation scholar, Thato Semoko. Lelia believes in networking, sharing opportunities and bringing people together. As an academic representative for the Lesotho Scholars Association at UCT, he was able, together with his team, to bring together Basotho scholars studying in the Western Cape to explore ways in which they could share their skills  to address issues facing their country. Outside of academic life, Lelia enjoys reading and drawing. He hikes occasionally to enjoy the beauty of nature and to reset.



Carol Masingi
Carol Masingi pursued a master’s degree in Development Studies. In addition to her academic interests, she positioned herself to become an activist that would focus on addressing socio-economic injustices in communities that were negatively impacted by mining activities and urban spatial transformation. Her interests also extended to education and empowerment of disadvantaged individuals. She participated in several activities including tutoring undergraduates and working at UCT's HIV/AIDS Inclusivity and Change Unit (HAICU). She was part of the Amandla! Ulutsha Editorial Collective, which wrote about challenging the hierarchy of knowledge production and stimulates youth-oriented debate. Her vision for Africa is a continent that is conscious of human rights and has good governance.

Read Carol Masingi's complete profile here.




Kudzai Mhepo
Kudzai Mhepo pursued a master’s degree in International Trade Law. She hopes to be remembered for using her legal credentials to give a voice to the voiceless in Africa and the rest of the world. As an undergraduate scholar at the University of Fort Hare, she participated in scholar politics as a member of the South African Students Congress and served twice in the branch executive committee. She also served as the secretary for Indlovukazi Women Empowerment Society. Issues close to her heart, which she strives to contribute positively towards, include women, children and disabled people’s rights, as well as educational, political and economic rights. She chose to pursue an LLM in International Trade Law in order to contribute towards the continental integration of Africa and the African 2063 agenda, which is a united democratic Africa, free of poverty, civil wars, abuse of human rights and without trade barriers.


Charles Sikwanda
Charles Sikwanda pursued a master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering. He produced two publications that made an instant impact in his field. In 2018, Charles represented the UCT Geotechnical Engineering Group at the Shanghai International Conference in China, where he presented one of his articles to more than 250 international researchers. His vision is to empower individuals with the willingness to learn.


Abdulmajid Aminu
Abdulmajid Aminu pursued a master’s degree in Environmental Science. A motivated individual, he is an alumnus of the YALI Regional Leadership Center in West Africa, and a Tony Elumelu Foundation Mentor. He has worked as an administration officer and a monitoring and evaluation officer, among other roles. Abdulmajid seeks innovative ways in which he can propose solutions to the most complex environmental problems in Africa.

Read Abdulmajid Aminu's complete profile here.


Ellis Tsetse
Ellis Tsetse pursued a master’s degree in Medical Biochemistry. Ellis co-funded scholar clubs, and became an activist for children and women that are impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. She also volunteered as a mathematics tutor in orphanages and helped to create sustainable community projects for youth in her community. She was a member of the HIV/AIDS Inclusivity and Change Unit (HAICU), a society on campus that assisted individuals who were discriminated against and often marginalised in society. Ellis was involved in several societies that focused on helping people of different backgrounds, including the Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO). She aims to mentor young girls to become advocates for women's issues.


Sabelo Mpisi

Bongane Madolo

Makhosi Mkhize

Bishar Mahomed

Michael Mutava

Pius Likwambi