• Leeroy Chitsakani

    Leeroy Panashe Chitsakani
    Leeroy Panashe Chitsakani is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics. He is a multi-talented young man who aspires to play a leading role in re-imagining and reviving the economy of his home country (Zimbabwe) and Africa at large. His aim is to improve the economic conditions deterring Africans from reaching their full potential academically and financially, as well as to even out huge income disparities.

    Leeroy is an active student academically, socially and in sporting activities. He was amongst the leading students in his 2019 stream as measured by the Zimbabwe School Examination Council. During his high school term career, he was the chairperson of the Human Rights club, events manager of the interact club and an athletics captain. Some of his significant community contributions include club donations to an orphanage in his hometown, Marondera, in 2018, clean up campaigns in Macheke and peer education on human rights.

  • Vimbayi Musikavanhu

    Vimbayi Musikavanhu
    Vimbayi Musikavanhu is pursuing a master’s in mineral law and petroleum extraction and use. She graduated from the University of Fort Hare with a Bachelor of Laws degree and worked as a tutor for Administrative Law and African Customary Law in 2019. Vimbayi is currently engaged with the Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe on legal research and writing to influence law reform. She is an aspiring entrepreneur who has participated in community-building activities and has also served as an ambassador for the empowerment of the girl-child in the areas of ending child marriages and promoting girls' education. In 2016, she received an international award from Plan International Norway in this regard. Vimbayi is driven by her passion to integrate legal services with the pursuit of economic independence. She envisions an inclusive Africa where young people are empowered to advocate for their interests in the matters that affect them.
  • Takudzwa Chitsiga

    Takudzwa is a postgraduate scholar pursuing an MSc degree in chemical engineering. He prides himself in his passion for climate action, the environment and energy security. Having spent time as an intern in some of Zimbabwe’s biggest organisations like Varun Beverages and Dendairy, he has identified Zimbabwe’s challenges related to energy shortages. With his degree, he hopes to contribute to solving the energy security crisis in Zimbabwe and in Africa with sustainable eco-friendly solutions. He is currently a member of the UCT Green Campus Initiative, which strives to raise environmental awareness at UCT and the community around it. Takudzwa has also engaged in peer mentorship and high school tutoring in his community in Harare.
  • Ibibia Frederick Joseph-George

    Ibibia Frederick Joseph-George is pursuing a master’s degree in industrial sociology. In addition, Ibibia is a Baobab ambassador and a member of the AL for Governance and Agribusiness Networks, respectively. Due to his entrepreneurial prowess, Ibibia was admitted as a member of the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative (CGI U) 2020 cohort. He was also the first scholar at the University of Cape Town to win the Speak Your Mind challenge. In 2019, Ibibia was a panellist/youth speaker at the Mastercard Baobab conference in Kigali, Rwanda. He placed in the semi-finals of the Resolution Project's Social Venture Challenge. 

    Ibibia served as the President of the Nigerian Students Society at the University of Cape Town from 2019 to 2020. He served as the block chair of Block B Forest Hill residence, overseeing over a hundred students, and as deputy head mentor and part of the disciplinary committee. Ibibia was a member of the University of Cape Town student parliament and the MCFSP mentorship Task Team (MTT) from 2019 to 2020. 

    He has won several academic and leadership awards. He graduated in March 2022 with a first-class degree in the development studies honours programme. Ibibia also possesses a distinction in industrial sociology and a class medal from UCT in July 2021. Ibibia is a recipient of the UCT-plus bronze and gold award and the UCT employability award. Due to winning the prestigious MCFSP summer school scholarship, Ibibia will be attending the 2022 Sciences Po summer school in Paris, France. 

  • Mohale Moshoeshoe

    Mohale Moshoeshoe graduated with honours from the University of Cape Town in 2020 with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. He published a peer-reviewed article in IEEE Digital Explore based on renewable energy. This served as motivation to further pursue this topic with the goal of implementing the acquired skills and knowledge for the betterment of people’s lives in his home country of Lesotho. He is currently a postgraduate scholar pursuing a master’s in electrical engineering degree at UCT. His research is aimed at finding sustainable energy solutions to develop rural and vulnerable communities, starting with those in his home country.

    He is a great believer in youth development and education, having taken up peer mentorship roles at UCT and mentoring high school pupils in Lesotho. He is an active member of Engineers Without Boarders (EWB) where he volunteers with teaching basic engineering to high school pupils in an initiative to give back and serve the community.  He is part of a new initiative called RORE Academy where he and other engineering graduates are working on creating freely accessible videos on introductory engineering principles to make information easily and vastly available for aspiring engineers and technologists. He has a vision to spearhead future initiatives and projects aimed at improving lives in rural communities in Southern Africa by introducing solutions to the prevalent electrification issues using naturally available resources.

  • Limpho Pitso

    Currently, Limpho is a master’s candidate at the University of Cape Town, specialising in materials engineering. Her research focuses on the fabrication of aluminium alloy using an advanced technology known as Additive Manufacturing. The samples are produced by EOS in Germany. She is passionate about starting her own AM company in Lesotho, mainly focusing on house plans. Limpho has interned at Matlab, which is a civil engineering construction company, and has tutored both at high school and tertiary levels. She became a science-based researcher for a television show in Lesotho, with the focus being the rural tannery. Currently, she tutors virtually at Selemela Learning Network whose mandate is to assist underprivileged kids in rural areas of Lesotho to acquire a better education.
  • Joshua Mukurazhizha

    Joshua Mukurazhizha is a postgraduate scholar pursuing a master’s degree in civil engineering. He completed his undergraduate degree in 2020 at UCT. During his undergraduate studies, Joshua held several leadership positions, with some of the most notable being Chairperson of the Engineering & Built Environment Student Council and the Civil Engineering Head Mentor. He also spent a considerable amount of time giving back to the immediate community as a volunteer for SHAWCO and the UCT Student Disability Unit. Joshua is passionate about the academic progression of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He believes that Africa’s greatest resource is the potential of its people and unlocking this potential, through education, is the key to Africa’s prosperity. Soon, Joshua hopes to provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds in Zimbabwe with an opportunity to obtain their secondary school qualifications. His long-term goal is to be involved in the development of infrastructure in Africa, thus promoting economic integration on the continent.
  • Jacob Mator Aketch

    Jacob Mator Aketch is studying towards a master’s in mechanical engineering. Given his passion for renewable and sustainable energy, he is currently conducting research on the thermodynamic optimisation of concentrated solar power. His interest in the field was sparked by a study tour of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) campus in New Delhi during his attendance of the ITEC programme as the only participant from South Sudan. He hopes to contribute to pushing boundaries in the field through his research as well as entrepreneurial ventures.  In line with that vision, he co-founded a solar energy start-up, Thunergy, in 2018. Although the start-up has not been able to take off due to capital issues, he is committed to building it into a successful enterprise soon.

    Having worked as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Juba, he is committed to using the transferable skills acquired from his masters’ studies to empower the next generation of engineers in his country by continuing his teaching profession after graduation. He strongly believes that as much as Africa needs visionary political leaders, it also needs shrewd entrepreneurs to create employment. Therefore, he is convinced the future of Africa relies on the next generation of professionals equipped with STEM and entrepreneurial skills.

    Jacob holds an undergraduate degree in physics from The George Washington University and an honours degree in applied science mechanics: physical asset management (mechanical engineering) from the University of Pretoria.  Apart from being an engineer by training, Jacob is an avid reader of history and philosophy. He believes these bodies of knowledge do not only inspire critical thinking, but also shape decisions in the direction of societal progress. 

  • Erikan Baluku

    Erikan Baluku is pursuing a master’s degree in molecular and cell biology. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical laboratory technology from Makerere University, Uganda in 2020. He is passionate about addressing SDG 2 by using synthetic biology to address the effect of climate changes on agricultural productivity. His vision is to contribute to the development of drought-tolerant crops and better farming technologies to address the anticipated change in climate that would lead to the complete abandonment of crop farming in Africa.

    In 2020, Erikan worked with Medical Access Uganda to extend diagnostic and therapeutic health services to HIV-AIDS patients. He also served as a peer educator under Reach A hand Uganda and conducted outreaches and community sensitisations on teenage pregnancies. He believes in mentoring the youth and empowering them to grow up vision-minded to meet their career expectations.

    Erikan is currently volunteering with SynBio Africa as an Ambassador programme coordinator and volunteers with the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) as an ambassador to Africa. He has actively been part of efforts towards promoting synthetic biology in Africa since his undergraduate studies. Erikan is founder of Mosquito Guard Uganda limited, a company manufacturing mosquito repellent jelly preventing malaria in pregnant mothers and children below five years. His research interests lie in the areas of synthetic biology, bioinformatics and antimicrobial resistance.

  • Itumeleng Musa

    Itumeleng Musa is pursuing her master’s degree in geomatics specialising in Geographic Information Systems. She graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2019 with an honours degree in Geographic Information Systems. She also holds an undergraduate degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Lesotho. She is passionate about human settlements and informal settlements and aims to contribute knowledge on how Geographic Information Systems can be used in her field of study. She hopes to one day own a consultancy company in Geographic Information Systems and Urban Planning. She has been elected as a class representative for all masters and PHD students in the Geomatics department for 2022.  She believes in imparting knowledge to the youth and is therefore a tutor in her community. She is an entrepreneur and co-founder of a satin accessories brand called Thella-Nnuku which operates in South Africa and Lesotho. She is also a founder of a knit-wear brand called Itumele which makes clothing and accessories from wool. Both these companies were founded in 2020, at the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Grace Emmanuella Adoteye

    Grace Emmanuella Adoteye is pursuing a master’s degree in biological science, specialising in plant ecophysiology. She holds a BSc (Hons.) in botany from the University of Ghana. Grace is passionate about investigating stress-tolerant crops and identifying biochemical and physiological mechanisms associated with their tolerance. With climate change being a topical concern globally, she aims to contribute to the discovery of stress-tolerant crop varieties that will be able to withstand the effects of this global phenomenon.

    She believes in giving back to society in whichever way one can. As a result, she has served as a volunteer for Tech Era, an NGO that seeks to provide assistive technology for young people living with special needs. Grace is also a co-founder of the Making Education a Possibility (MEP) Foundation: a non-profit organisation that recruits volunteers to help raise funds to provide school supplies for pupils in underprivileged communities while serving as mentors to these pupils. Currently, at UCT, she serves as a volunteer for SHAWCO Education and the Golden Future Project, both organisations that provide academic support to high school learners as a way of encouraging them to reach their full potential.

    After completing her master’s degree, Grace aims to pursue a PhD in plant stress and climate change, with the goal of becoming a researcher in the field of plant science.