Photographed with DVC Prof Danie Visser and IAPO Director Prof Evance Kalula at their welcome reception are the 2016 intake of MasterCard Foundation Scholars at UCT.
On the surface, The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT might appear to only be an opportunity for further education. For the young people participating in it, it provides a vehicle to fulfil their dreams.
Nicola Jeranyama from Zimbabwe is studying actuarial science, but her dream is to build a school for orphaned and abandoned children.
"I want to build a school that provides free education to children from children’s homes. I have seen a lot of potential in these children, through my experiences with them in Zimbabwe as I often volunteered to teach them," explains Jeranyama.
She was one of the new scholars of the Program, who were recently welcomed to the university by Deputy-Vice-Chancellor
Professor Danie Visser and Professor Evance Kalula, Director of International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO).
In his welcoming address, Visser, who’s portfolio includes research and internationalisation, encouraged the scholars by comparing the opportunity presented to them as the ancient Greek city of Sparta: "This is your Sparta – adorn it." Life is about opportunities and how we see those opportunities as stepping stones to making dreams a reality.
He further pointed out that the loyalty of future leaders (such as these scholars) to their respective communities would be conducive to Africa’s development.
Professor Evance Kalula, The Director for International Academic Programmes Office shared with the scholars the difference between this Scholars Program and others scholarship opportunities, stressing how it focuses more on community engagement and giving back. This, among other traits, forms a well-rounded scholar and hence the scholars will no doubt be extending themselves."You are expected to give back, to make a difference," he said.
Daniella Bushiri, a scholar from the DRC, intends to use her acquired skill and expertise to help refugees like herself: “Many of [our] struggles are not refugee-specific, such as unemployment and lack of financial support. Raising awareness about these issues will be my primary action. Furthermore, I would like to create a network whereby these issues can be addressed."
Anniqah Ebrahim from South Africa believes Africans have what it takes to improve their own lot. "It may seem impossible, but I believe our African people living in poverty-stricken conditions have the potential to better their own lives as well as that of others, and the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship will shape me into a leader for that transformation to occur."
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program hopes to develop a next generation of leaders that is committed to positive social and economic change in Africa. The Program at UCT will provide 300 scholarships over ten years to students in Sub-Saharan Africa to pursue undergraduate, honours and master’s degrees at the university.