Zimbabwean Andrew Hlupo, an undergraduate mechanical engineering scholar, is the first member in his family to access tertiary education. During his high school career at St Ignatius College in Chishawasha, 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 events at the school, 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 dedicated, especially, to spreading HIV awareness among the youth.
Thato Semoko comes from the small town of Maputsoe, Leribe, a district in Lesotho. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which he intends to use to make a difference in his community. He is part of the UCT Entrepreneurs Society. Thato was the first head prefect of his high school and graduated top of his class. He was ranked fourth in the country, and, with this, was awarded a government bursary to join the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Machabeng College International School of Lesotho. Here, he worked with the Student Representative Committee. Thato participated in a number of community engagement projects, amongst which was a project called 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, introducing them to resources such as e-books.
Bridget Ainembabazi, born and raised in Mukono, Uganda, is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. Bridget graduated from Nabisunsa Girls School, where she was part of science and maths clubs as well as member of a club that serves to bring together students from different schools. Bridget hopes the qualification will give her the 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, and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Social Work. Chido 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 as she is, Chido is currently involved with the SHAWCO Smart Programme. She is studying social work so that she may one day help vulnerable young women and children.
Semkelisiwe Ncube is from Lupane, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Social Work and is involved in volunteer work with Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) and Global Citizenship. Semkelisiwe's education was supported by her mother and 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, and sees herself actively using 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 out into the community to clean, and take bread and soup to schools. Zukiswa aspires to work interdependently with African leaders, from different disciplines, to create community organisations and technological advancement that will break the cycle of poverty and dependence.
Gertrude Nyabirakuru comes from Zimbabwe, and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Social Work. She has volunteered in her community as a learner guide for Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), where she helped schoolchildren flourish academically, and worked to find gifted children in the community 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 comes from Mount Darwin in Zimbabwe and was raised by her grandparents. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Social Work. Primrose went to Darwin High School where she completed her advanced levels. She has helped girls in need through Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), assisted the elderly, and was involved in clean-up campaigns. Primrose is hoping that the knowledge and experience she attains, will enable her to fulfil a simple dream to “pay it forward”.
Petrus Kambala, a MasterCard Scholar from Walvis Bay, Namibia, is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Petrus completed Senior Secondary School at Gabriel Taapopi Secondary School 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 of many African villages, he wishes to transform and improve the generation of electricity so that it will not only be affordable to low-income households, but also be available in rural areas. Through his computer science skills, he intends to work with various sectors in order to improve the information management systems in Namibia, and speed up the processing time of important documents such as birth certificates.
Gilbert Hwani, who grew up in a small mining town called Kwekwe in Zimbabwe, is currently pursuing 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’s long-term goal is 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, is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics. When she was awarded top student of her county for the KCSE examination, she joined Equity Bank Pre-University Mentorship programme, which mentors the top boy and girl, from each county in Kenya, for 18 months before University. She then joined the University of Nairobi in Kenya to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Mathematics. Carolyne believes education is the answer to eradicating poverty in Kenya. As a result, she tutors high-school students during the holidays, visits schools to give motivational speeches, and is involved in community development projects. Carolyne wishes to return home after her graduation and join an organisation that will make a real impact in Kenya. She graduated from Isiolo High School, at the top of her class.
Fadzai Muramba grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe and is currently pursuing a Master's of Philosophy in Development Studies. She has a degree in International Relations and Industrial Sociology, with distinction in Industrial Sociology. She also 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 is motivated to make a difference in people’s lives, and is involved in student and community projects, such as being a student ambassador for 10 Minutes With. She is 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. Recently 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 her Master’s degree she looks to pursuing a Ph.D. within the field of Development and becoming a professional development practitioner.
Stanley Mutinda, a MasterCard Foundation scholar from Kitui, Kenya is pursuing 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 Scholars Program at UCT. He plans to define issues and develop strategies for social and economic development among communities.
Tlhoriso Matlokotsi, from Lesotho, is pursuing an MSc in Electrical Engineering (by dissertation). He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in 2013. His research is focused on improving the security of electricity supply by integrating renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to the grid, especially in remote areas. His interest in energy studies is motivated by the rising energy demands as a result of the ever-increasing population and advancement in technology. He served as President of the Lesotho Students Association at UCT in 2013. He also served within the same organisation as a Public Relations Officer in 2012. He intends to take part in the establishment of renewable energy projects in southern Africa as there are plenty of energy resources, particularly wind and solar. He has met with a number of renowned industrial experts who specialise in renewable energy projects, and, with their support and exposure to investment opportunities, Tlhoriso is positive that he will fare well with his intended goals.
Washington Zindoga, born in Zimbabwe, is currently pursuing an LLM in Commercial Law. His areas of interest and research include, securities, Company Law generally and the Company Law reform process, in particular. He completed undergraduate studies in Law in 2014 at the University of the Western Cape. 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 currently, he is also involved in the leadership of the youth ministry at his church. In the long term, he hopes 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 pursing a Master’s in Public Health, specialising in Health Policy and Systems. Her Bachelor's degree major was in Neuroscience and she has worked in a cancer academic hospital. She is a Residence Life Representative and committee member of the Postgraduate Health Sciences Committee at UCT. In 2016, 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 focused on Gender & Health Systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Jeremiah Nzioka, originally from Kenya, is pursuing his MSc in Electrical Engineering, majoring in Telecommunications. He obtained a BSc. Electronic and Computer Engineering degree from Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya in 2013. He is involved with Engineering Without Borders (EWB UCT chapter), a student organisation that engages with the community to solve some of their pressing problems, and is a mentor at Equity Group Foundation in Kenya. Jeremiah envisions using his passion for technology to create material change in his country.
Christina Nyandoro comes from Harare, Zimbabwe and is currently pursuing an LLM in Commercial Law. She completed her Bachelor of Law at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. While at the university, 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. She has also completed various voluntary internships in her home country at the Law Society of Zimbabwe, and Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners. Christina is an advocate for women’s and girls' rights, and intends to start a non-profit organisation that will help women.
Ramontsheng Rapolaki was born and raised in Penthust Farm outside Ladybrand, Free-State, South Africa. He is studying towards a Master’s of Science Degree in Ocean and Climate Dynamics. His research focuses on the numerical study of severe storm events, and its associated impact over Southern Africa. He has a BSc in Ocean & Atmosphere Science, Environmental & Geographical Science, and a BSc Honours in Ocean & Atmosphere Science from UCT. He is 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. Currently, he is 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. As mentor and activator, he is contributing towards building a more transformed and equal South Africa.