Andrew Hlupo is Zimbabwean and completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering as the first member in his family to access tertiary education. During his high school career at St Ignatius College in Chishawasha, Zimbabwe, Andrew achieved exceptional grades and awards in both academic and co-curricular activities. He was a member of the Youth Against AIDS Club, was involved in organising school events, and during his final years of high school, held a position that saw him responsible for a third of the school. Unable to fund his education beyond secondary school, Andrew was forced to take a gap year, and engaged in community service with the Masvingo City Council under the Welfare Department, where he was especially dedicated to encouraging HIV awareness among youth.
Thato Semoko comes from the small town of Maputsoe, Leribe, a district in Lesotho. He pursued an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which he intends to use in making a difference in his community. Thato was a member of the UCT Entrepreneurs Society, building on his past as the head prefect of his high school where he graduated at the top of his class. This earned him a government bursary to join the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Machabeng College International School of Lesotho. There, he worked with the Student Representative Committee, engaging in a number of community projects including Thaka-Khoali, funded by UNESCO, where he volunteered with other students from tertiary institutions to help facilitate the use of ICT tools in local underprivileged schools.
Bridget Ainembabazi, born and raised in Mukono, Uganda, was an undergraduate scholar who pursued a degree in Civil Engineering. Bridget graduated from Nabisunsa Girls School, where she was part of several clubs including the science and maths clubs. Bridget hopes her tertiary qualification will give her skills to help ease access to various facilities in Uganda, where infrastructure is under strain from an increasing population and poor maintenance.
Chido Hunda hails from Kuwadzana Extension, a small community in Harare, Zimbabwe. Chido pursued an undergraduate degree in Social Work. Prior to this, she completed her advanced level certificate at F.D Roosevelt Girls High School, where she served as vice president of Drama Skills and won a top award for acting. Passionate about community, Chido was involved with the SHAWCO Smart Programme. She studied social work with a vision to one day aid vulnerable young women and children.
Semkelisiwe Ncube comes from Lupane, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. She pursued an undergraduate degree in Social Work and was involved in volunteer work with SHAWCOand Global Citizenship. Semkelisiwe's education was supported by her mother and the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), which enabled her to complete her A levels at Mabhikwa High School. She was involved in mentorship programmes with CAMFED, tutoring young girls in primary schools, and was also involved in tutorial services with the Ministry of Public Work for six years. Holding various leadership positions in curricular and extra-curricular activities developed her dreams of making a great difference in people’s lives. After graduating, Semkelisiwe wants to encourage her community to work hard for the betterment of the country.
Zukiswa Qwabe was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a degree in Law. She aims to use her skills and knowledge to uplift young girls and women in Africa, helping them to realise their capabilities and opportunities in the workplace and community. Zukiswa was awarded Dux in primary school, received numerous awards for excellence in mathematics, English, technology and natural science, and was head girl at Westville Girls' High School, where she matriculated with a Bachelor Pass and five distinctions. She was offered the opportunity to attend the 2009 People to People World Leadership Forum in Washington, but due to financial constraints, was unable to attend. Zukiswa was part of Soul Buddies in primary school, which involved going into the community to clean and take bread and soup to schools. Zukiswa aspires to work interdependently with African leaders from different disciplines, and to create community organisations and technological advancement that will break the cycle of poverty and dependence.
Gertrude Nyabirakuru comes from Zimbabwe and pursued an undergraduate degree in Social Work. She volunteered in her community as a learner guide for the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), where she helped school children flourish academically. With CAMFED she also worked to find gifted children and refer them for bursaries and other opportunities. She passed her advanced level in 2011 and is the first member of her family to attend university.
Primrose Makoni came to UCT from Mount Darwin in Zimbabwe, where she was raised by her grandparents. She pursued an undergraduate degree in Social Work. Primrose went to Darwin High School, where she completed her advanced levels. Through her work with the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), she assisted the elderly and was involved in various clean-up campaigns. Primrose is hopeful that the knowledge and experience she has attained will enable her to fulfil a simple dream to “pay it forward”.
Petrus Kambala was a Mastercard Foundation Scholar from Walvis Bay, Namibia, who pursued an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Petrus completed Senior Secondary School at Gabriel Taapopi and, while studying at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology, he took part in several annual cleaning campaigns. Growing up in a village without electricity, a problem for many African villagers, he aspires to transform and improve the generation of electricity in Namibia and Africa in the hopes of making electricity affordable to low-income households and rural areas. Using his computer science skills, he intends to work with various sectors to improve information management systems in Namibia and speed up the processing time of important national documents such as birth certificates.
Gilbert Hwani was raised in a small mining town called Kwekwe in Zimbabwe who pursued an LLM in Commercial Law. Gilbert graduated LLB Summa Cum Laude at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and was at the top of the Dean’s Merit List for three consecutive years. Among other academic awards, he also received the Book prize for obtaining the highest mark in Jurisprudence, the Hogan Lovells Prize for Corporate Law, the Phatshoane Henney Inc. Prize for graduating LLB Summa Cum Laude and the Dean’s Medal for graduating top of his class. He was elected, in his second year, as the Research Officer of the Law Student Council. He also played leading roles in community-based activities such as Remember and Give UWC and the Kwekwe Reading for All literacy project. Gilbert aspires to become a leading lawyer and academic in the field of corporate and commercial Law. He aims to build a stream of research that will contribute to the reform and ongoing modernisation of corporate law in Zimbabwe. He intends to influence law reform to foster economic development, job creation, business development and attract foreign direct investment.
Carolyne Mbatia, originally from Meru in Kenya, pursued a master’s degree in Applied Economics. She graduated at the top of her class from Isiolo High School. She was then awarded top student of her county for the KCSE examination, and was part of the Equity Bank Pre-University Mentorship Programme, which mentors the top boy and girl from each county in Kenya for 18 months prior to university enrolment. She then joined the University of Nairobi in Kenya to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics. Carolyne believes in education as the answer to eradicating poverty in Kenya. Consequently, she tutored high-school students during the holidays, visited schools to give motivational speeches, and was involved in community development projects. Carolyne dreams of returning home after graduation to join an organisation that will enable her to impact Kenya positively.
Fadzai Muramba was raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. She pursued a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies. She holds a degree in International Relations and Industrial Sociology, with distinction in Industrial Sociology. She received the Dean’s Merit List award in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, she received a first-class Bachelor of Social Science Honours Degree in Development Studies, where her main research focus was urban food security in African cities. Fadzai was motivated to make a difference in people’s lives, and was involved in student and community projects, such as being a student ambassador for 10 Minutes With. She was also content editor for the Cape Town Globalist Magazine online publications and blog, social events director for UCT’s Golden Key Chapter and senior mentor for the Humanities Faculty Mentorship Programme. She attended the Golden Key 2015 International Summit in The Gold Coast, Australia, where she not only presented her research on urban agriculture in Harare but was also the first-place winner in the humanities category. After completing her master’s degree, she aims to pursue a PhD in the field of Development, with the goal of becoming a professional development practitioner.
Stanley Mutinda is from Kitui, Kenya. He pursued a master’s degree in Economic Development. He graduated from Kyuso Secondary School in 2007, where he was the top student in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams in Mwingi District. He joined the University of Nairobi in Kenya where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2013. Stanley has been a member of the Equity African Leaders Program since 2008, which was founded by the Equity Bank Group. He interned and worked for Equity Bank before joining the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. He aspires to define issues and develop strategies for social and economic development among communities.
Tlhoriso Matlokotsi is from Lesotho. He pursued an MSc in Electrical Engineering (by dissertation). He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2013. His research was focused on improving electrical security by integrating renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to the supply grid, especially in remote areas. His interest in energy studies was inspired by the rising energy demands resulting from the ever-increasing population and advancements in technology. In 2013, he served as president of the Lesotho Students Association at UCT. Prior to that he served within the same organisation as a public relations officer in 2012. He aims to participate in the establishment of renewable energy projects in southern Africa with the conviction that there are plenty of energy resources, particularly wind and solar. Prior to graduation he met with several renowned industry experts who specialised in renewable energy projects, and he is optimistic that with the support and exposure of his network, he would be successful.
Washington Zindoga is of Zimbabwean origin. He pursued an LLM in Commercial Law and his areas of interest and research included securities, general company law and the company law reform process. He completed undergraduate studies in Law in 2014 at the University of the Western Cape. Prior to coming to UCT he was extensively involved in various community projects ranging from Street Law to Remember and Give. He tutored disadvantaged students struggling with high school subjects, and while at UCT, he was involved in the leadership of the youth ministry at his church. He aspires to become a prominent member of the Zimbabwean Parliament to help Zimbabwe face its political challenges. He has an interest in politics, social justice and the plight of the underprivileged in society.
Constancia Mavodza is an Afro-feminist, Zimbabwean woman who pursed a master’s degree in Public Health, specialising in Health Policy and Systems. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and has worked in a cancer academic hospital. She was a Residence Life Representative and committee member of the Postgraduate Health Sciences Committee at UCT. She plans to launch I AM HER(E), an organisation that develops empowered, bold young women in Zimbabwe. She envisions a career straddling the highest levels of international health relations, policy and research, particularly focussing on gender and health systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Jeremiah Nzioka is from Kenya and pursued his MSc in Electrical Engineering, majoring in Telecommunications. He obtained a BSc in Electronic and Computer Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya in 2013. He has been involved with Engineering Without Borders (EWB UCT chapter), a student organisation that engages with the community to solve some of the pressing problems in the field and was a mentor with the Equity Group Foundation in Kenya. Jeremiah aims to use his passion for technology to create substantial change in his country.
Christina Nyandoro came from Harare, Zimbabwe, to pursue a LLM in Commercial Law. She completed her Bachelor of Law at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. While at Fort Hare, she held many leadership roles, and organised activities and negotiations in the Student Representative Committee. She held the positions of deputy speaker of the Institutional Student Parliament, deputy chairperson of the Law Student Council, as well as secretary for Indlovukazi Women Empowerment Society. Christina has completed various voluntary internships in her home country with the Law Society of Zimbabwe and Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners. Christina is an advocate for women’s and girls' rights who aspires to initiate a non-profit organisation that aids women.
Ramontsheng Rapolaki was born and raised in Penthust Farm outside Ladybrand, Free-State, South Africa. He pursued a Master of Science Degree in Ocean and Climate Dynamics. His research focus was on the numerical study of severe storm events, and its associated impact over Southern Africa. He holds a BSc in Ocean & Atmosphere Science, Environmental & Geographical Science, and a BSc Honours in Ocean & Atmosphere Science from UCT. He was a recipient of numerous acknowledgements and awards for his role as mentor, volunteer and student leader from organisations such as the HCI Foundation & Cape Jewish Board of Deputies, Faculty of Science Mentoring Programme (UCT), UCT Global Citizenship Programme, South African Education and Environmental Project (SAEP), and Inkanyezi-Ubunye. He was a mentor for the Science Faculty, and an activator at the Activate Leadership Programme. He is passionate about education, earth system science and community development, and as a mentor and activator, he has contributed towards building a more transformed and equal South Africa.