Mentorship has benefits for mentees as well as their mentors. Our mentors share their experiences with the program and how it has enriched them and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars.

Arnold Kinabo

I’m a master’s researcher in the telecommunications specialty of the Electrical Engineering Department, in the Engineering Faculty at UCT. I applied to be a Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program mentor because helping people is something I generally enjoy doing. And that’s what a mentor is: someone who can provide guidance that could help make life easier. It’s something I hoped I’d be able to do with the students under my charge. But I didn’t expect that they’d have such a huge impact on my life too. I was lucky to be paired up with the most affable bunch of mentees who were warm and enthusiastic in our interactions. I look forward to meeting up again with them in future even after the program. The connections you build in university help shape your life afterward. If only everyone could be so blessed as to have positive individuals around them to complement their personal development and growth.

Lesiba Meshack Makgai

I am a student at UCT and a mentor under the faculty of health sciences. Mentorship to me is about information sharing and learning. I really enjoy mentorship, more especially with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, due to the diverse culture and knowledge it brings. I am a big fan of philosophical and entrepreneur books since that is the journey I desire to take. I love and respect people and am glad same energy comes back. I always tell myself: don't forget the power of association, the power of listening and the power of always knowing that you know nothing.

Adeyemi Daniel Adetimehin

As a mentor, I was a master’s by dissertation student in Forensic Entomology (2020) at the Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at UCT. During my first degree in Nigeria, I was fortunate to have fantastic mentors who did not only support me academically, but also gave me and linked me up with life-changing opportunities such as paid internships, workshops, conferences and more. Also, my wonderful mentors played an important role in the development of my scientific skills and they have been very instrumental in my journey as a scientist. For this reason, I feel it is extremely important for me to give back to society by mentoring other young scholars including those from economically disadvantaged families. I strongly believe every individual has something to offer in the academic and/or scientific world and it is always my pleasure to support and mentor any interested person who is ready to move and see beyond his/her economic and/or academic barriers or limitations.

Onyekachi John Onyeagoziri

As a mentor, I was a master’s student at UCT's Engineering and Built Environment in the Mechanical Engineering Department specialising in Engineering management and System Dynamics. I mentor because I love to impact the lives of others. I have a penchant for acquiring knowledge, a satisfaction in disseminating it, and skills for the development of others and societies globally. I love to be a solution to the problems of the world and others, especially students relating to their academics. I am also a gospel music artist by calling and passion and I am a YouTuber. I love gospel and I love to tell the world about the supremacy and love of Jesus through my music. I am the CEO of Gospel Factory Concepts, fully registered in South Africa. I am presently doing my PhD in Engineering, Technology and Innovation Management in the area of energy studies. As a student, what makes me unique is my ability to give back to society, my leadership qualities and my ability to learn and improve. I am a hardworking person, I am a great leader, a resourceful and dynamic person with a high sense of integrity. I also work very well with others to achieve a common goal.

Thomas Edoye

I was a student mentor while at UCT's Political Studies department during my MPhil program in Public Policy and Administration. It was a remarkable experience for me because it gave me the opportunity to help five scholars assigned to me to integrate emotionally and academically into the university system. It was just few years ago as an international student that I returned to UCT and like my mentees had to deal with the rigors of integrating into a new society, culture, lifestyle and academic administration style. My experience as a mentor was able to properly give perspective to my stay in UCT and South Africa, and I can boldly say it has made me a better person on the whole. Given the opportunity again, I would be a mentor again.

Oluwadunsin Adekola

As a mentor, I was a PhD student at the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, in the Department of Biological Sciences at UCT in 2019. My interest in providing mentorship for students was developed during my undergraduate days when I saw the gap created by lack of proper mentorship and the need for it. I have been a product of mentorship all my life and I see the opportunity of mentoring others as a privilege to give back to the society. I believe we need each other to succeed and we must always build healthy relationships to achieve excellence. In other words, it is impossible to reach the top without building connection with others. During my leisure time, I enjoy bird watching and admiring the beauty of nature. I also enjoy teaching and am passionate about mentoring Africa scholars to stardom.

Wisdom Alemya Akurugu

I am originally from Ghana but am currently a PhD student in Professor Nicola Mulder’s Lab, Computational Biology (CBIO) at UCT, where I joined the crew of mentors in 2019. At the leadership level, I have an interest in sharing my personal and professional experiences to help make a difference in the transformation of young people. This is my passion and a commitment I make to society. I have spent a significant part of my life in a rural community. This experience has motivated me to take up leadership roles at various stages of my life aimed at transforming society and improving human life. I’m interested in creating solid lifetime connections across all races. I am interested in reading and being involved in academic and political activities. I aim to play a role in the socio-political landscape of my community in Ghana, to be an entrepreneur and a biomedical researcher.

Ifeanyi Emmanuel Okonkwo

I did my Bachelor at Law in Nigeria and was called to the bar where I worked and served as a legal practitioner for several years before proceeding to UCT for my master’s in intellectual property law. Currently I have been accepted as a doctoral researcher. Having met several challenges in my journey and having discovered the importance of mentorship late, I volunteered with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program mentor to guide, especially, the undergraduates who are passing through similar pathways. Outside the law, I am a copywriter, brand critic and a music director.

Olatunde Olayanju

I am a medical doctor currently rounding off my PhD at UCT. I realised how difficult it was for students to integrate into the university system, especially if they are foreigners. That’s why I offered to dedicate time to fellow students in such situations. Together, we were able to deal with their challenges, spend time together hiking mountains and playing soccer at the beach, and most importantly, we have remained friends even after graduation. Life is a lot better if one has an experienced guide to help one navigate life's troubled water.

Tess Herra Yieke

I joined the mentorship program at UCT because it is an Afrio-centric and inclusive space. I am currently a student at UCT completing my honours degree and I love to help with the university community. Over the last five years I have taken up various leadership and mentorship roles in various departments on campus as I am passionate about meaningful engagement with the youth. I I enjoy opportunities where I can have inter-cultural interactions and learn more about new things. Hence my love for sight-seeing, traveling and meeting new people as well as having different cultural experiences. I enjoyed my time with the mentorship program as I was able to interact with so many young people from all over the continent and by enriching my knowledge and experience on youth trainings and workshops. It inspired me to work with friends to start a platform known as By Africa Network. The life lessons I acquired from this program are priceless and I would recommend anyone who is interested in making an impressionable impact on young people to join.

Kennedy Chege

I am a researcher and PhD candidate at the NRF/DST SARChI: Mineral Law in Africa (MLiA) Research Chair at UCT. I also work in business development at the ENSafrica law firm. I served as a peer mentor with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program for three years between 2016-2018. It was an extremely enriching experience as I got to engage with students from diverse backgrounds. I was able to develop a symbiotic relationship with my mentees, where we were able to learn from each other by sharing experiences and resources for mutual benefit. I am deeply honoured to have had the privilege to contribute to developing the next generation of leaders and making a positive difference in people's lives. While performing my role as a peer mentor, I was selected to be a member of the team that would draft the Constitution for the Program, to guide its operations for years to come. Additionally, I was selected to be part of the election task team, involved in managing elections for the Scholars Council. The skills that I gained from the program have enabled me to mentor for various national and international organisations.

Sisipho Mambumba

I am passionate about mentoring. I am passionate about being there for other people. Through mentoring not only do I pass on knowledge, but I gain knowledge as I am always open to unlearn and relearn. Through mentoring I get to build long-lasting connections based on mutual understanding and education with my mentees. I've learnt so much about myself and my mentees through the process. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be part of the UCT Mastercard Foundation.

Wilberforce W. Chege

I am a civil and transportation engineer by profession and a project manager based in Cape Town, South Africa. I was part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program between 2016-2018 while studying for my Master’s (MEng) & BSc in Civil Engineering at UCT, and I was the Lead Community Engagement peer mentor at the Mastercard Foundation. As a mentor with the program, I assisted students and mentees in their transition through UCT and supported them in their studies by providing guidance and social support. I also led the Mastercard Foundation Scholar Election Task-Team in conducting a free, fair and transparent election for the Scholars Council. I have a deep passion for mentoring, tutoring and nurturing young people, and for volunteering in the informal settlements and townships in and around Cape Town and the wider Western Cape region.

Siyasanga Mbikwana

I was a mentor for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program in 2020. I was afforded the opportunity of mentoring seven mentees and it has been quite the journey having to virtually communicate. Regardless of the pandemic and how it has added further restrictions upon us, we have done well as my hub of mentees stayed connected. We learned a lot about each other, and we have also gone through a journey of self-discovery together over the year. What I have discovered about myself is that I am an ambivert that has a passion for helping others with the little I have got. I have learned that I have enjoyed giving advice on how to navigate a new phase of life that I have possibly been through, and through my experiences and references, that is the point of call of where I can help. I have developed many new relationships that I sincerely have enjoyed this year. I am still the bubbly, outgoing individual that I have always been. I enjoy at times being alone, reading and listening to music. I am a leader but equally can be a team member and contribute accordingly. If I were to be given the opportunity to be a mentor again, I would do it all over again.

Tatenda Marcus Johnie Mundoma

As a mentor I was enrolled at UCT doing construction studies. Mentoring has been a dream because it is a thing that allows an individual to grow in leadership. Leadership is a rare commodity in the days we are living because the so-called leaders lack the ability to serve. In search of this skill, I wanted to serve as a Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program mentor to ensure that as I grow this skill is established in the things that I engage in. Knowing that you helped a group of individuals by meeting their needs is a dream come true and it helps you in this life to do more for people.

Danielstar Okeyo

I am a first year PhD student in the Department of Sociology. I have spent eight years at UCT prior to this, obtaining my undergraduate degree, honours and master’s there. Being a part of the UCT student body for such a long time has encouraged me to actively play a role in the transformation and changes that UCT undergoes on a constant basis. I have been involved with the Humanities Mentorship programs across three years and I have also been a tutor for the Sociology Department over the past three years. I was also part of the Mastercard student mentorship program for IAPO in 2018. I am passionate about youth, educations and uplifting youth through education. This is at the core of who I am and what defines me.

Lateef Adesola Akinyemi

I was a PhD candidate at UCT's Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment when I was part of the mentorship program. I engaged in mentorship because I have a passion to help people. I like to give others useful advice while listening meticulously to their various challenges with school and with life in general. I am a sports enthusiast in my spare time which includes watching soccer and playing. I also enjoy reading and surfing the internet to get acquainted with latest developments in the world of sports. I also like to crack jokes with people around me when I have extra time. Establishing connections with as many people as possible matters to me. While there are other life lessons I have learned, this one stands out for me because in university, if you do not have a solid connection and good relationship with your peers, you will not get very far in life.

Innocent Mugodzeri

My time as part of the mentorship program in 2019 was an experience I cherish to this day. I had the privilege of working with four different and unique scholars and future leaders from around Africa. The challenges were there but they only served to instil and refine the tenacity and critical ethos of sound leadership. The mentor challenge helped in building teamwork and unity while the weekly meetings served as an escape from hectic academic endeavours (there were free snacks as well!). Overall, if asked to participate in the Mastercard scholar mentorship program again, I would do it without blinking an eye or thinking twice.