Southern African Rhodes scholars 2010

Names and backgrounds of winners of scholarship to study at Oxford University


JOHANNESBURG, Monday 13 December 2010. -- A bagpiper from Grahamstown, a poet from Welkom, a Bloemfontein mathematician with a black belt in Judo and a Johannesburg-born commodity trader are among the ten recipients of the 2010 Rhodes Scholarships for advanced studies at the University of Oxford, valued at some R300,000 per year.

Hundreds of South Africans compete each year for the Rhodes Scholarship, which has arguably become the most prestigious scholarship in the world since Cecil John Rhodes created it in his will. Since 1902, more than 6,000 Rhodes Scholars have studied at Oxford, which was this year again ranked one of the world's top universities in the Times Higher Education Supplement world university rankings, and first in Europe with Cambridge.

In 2003, the focus of the Rhodes Trust in Oxford shifted towards South and Southern Africa with the dedication of £10 million (then some R140 million) to start the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. Since that year, the South African selection panels have said it is "essential for Rhodes Scholars from Southern Africa to be committed to working for the benefit of Africa in general or Southern Africa in particular", given "Africa's urgent development needs".

The scholarships are available to Southern African residents as well as alumni of four high schools -- Diocesan College, Rondebosch; South African College School, Newlands; Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch; and St Andrew's College, Grahamstown. Each year, about 90 Rhodes Scholars are selected in countries including the United States, Canada, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.

Recipients this year hail from all across South Africa as well as one from Botswana and will pursue degrees in anything from Africa Studies to Clinical Medicine, Development Economics and Biomedical Engineering. The group also includes Ha-Eun Grace Kim, who becomes the first female recipient of the scholarship awarded by Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch since this all-boys school opened up its scholarship to girls from neighbouring schools.

Please see below for details of individual Rhodes Scholars-elect for 2011.

South-Africa-at-Large Scholars-Elect:

Dirk Wouter "DW" Bester (23), son of Dr. Frederik C.J. and Jeannette Bester from Bloemfontein. DW matriculated with seven distinctions from Jim Fouché High School, where he served as head boy. He excelled at Mathematical and Science Olympiads and ranked first in his school academically, ranking under the top 50 matriculants in the Free State Province, as well as the top 5 Mathematical students. He enrolled for a BSc Degree in Actuarial Science at the University of the Free State, receiving awards for the best first year student in Information Technology and Mathematical Statistics as well as the best second year student in Applied Mathematics and Economics. On completion of the degree DW received the Dean's medal awarded to the best graduate student in the department of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Senate Medal awarded to best Bachelor's degree student at the University of the Free State during year 2009. He has black belts in Judo and Haedong Kumdo and is currently completing his Honours degree in Actuarial Science and will read for a DPhil in Statistics at Oxford next year.

Michael Fargher (23), son of Ken and Meg Fargher, grew up in Johannesburg and attended St John's College where he was deputy-head. He was awarded SA Schools colours for debating and water polo and placed in the top 50 IEB students with 7 distinctions in 2005. Michael was awarded the Anglo American Open Scholarship and the Allan Gray Orbis Fellowship and graduated with first class honours in Economics from UCT. Michael co-founded the African Schools Debating Championship and its predecessor in 2006. In 2007 he was one of 150 students selected from around the world as a Goldman Sachs Global Leader and named as the Allan Gray Orbis student of the Year. At University he was awarded the McKinsey & Co's Deans Award for Excellence, the ERZA economics prize and offered the Harvard Business Schools 2+2 MBA programme. Since graduating in 2009 Michael has worked as a commodity trader on the energy desk at Goldman Sachs in London and will read for an MSc in Economics for Development and an MSc in African Studies.

Sannah Mokone (21) is the daughter of Makalo Petrus Mokone and Merriam Mokone. She matriculated from Welkom High where she was a member of the Representative Council for Learners (RCL). Her poem 'Letters to the Unknown' was published by the Poetry Institute of Africa in 2006. In 2007 she registered for a B.Pub Human Resource Management degree at the University of the Free State (UFS), completing this qualification cum laude. In 2010 she registered for a B.Pub.Hons degree with the UFS. At UFS she was a member of various committees mainly for House Roosmaryn, where she spent four years. She was also a member of the sub-committee for Kovsie Community, a charity organisation at the UFS. In 2009 Sannah was elected Vice President of the Golden Key International Honour Society UFS Chapter and appointed Vice Prime of House Roosmaryn. In 2008 she was chosen to attend the Investec Young Women In Finance Conference (YWIF). Besides academic merit bursaries she was awarded the Konica-Minolta Prize for best third year in Public Management (2010). Sannah will read for an MSc in Africa Studies at Oxford University. (Contact: 0739689967)

Shaheen Seedat (21), son of Hamid and Zohra Seedat, grew up in Botswana as well as Bahrain, where she attended St. Christopher's Senior School. Shaheen matriculated with full A-Level and GCSE academic honours and 15 academic awards, played in the 1st XI Cricket team, was an inter-school squash champion and captain of St Chris' 1st team. He excelled at numerous Model UN conferences including at The Hague, completed Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh's Awards and was Deputy Head Boy. Shaheen continued his studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he graduated with distinction for a triple major undergraduate degree in Economic Science, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, earning 29 class medals and awards and graduating top of his class. Shaheen attained the highest marks at the School in the last 30 years and was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal for the most distinguished graduate. He was also named a Goldman Sachs Global Leader, tutored in economics and in 2010 enrolled for two Honours degrees concurrently in Economic Science and Mathematics as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. He is currently involved in the Targeting Talent Program and is leading the set-up of the exciting new Volunteerism Unit at SETMU. At Oxford, Shaheen will read for a DPhil in Financial Economics.

KwaZulu-Natal Scholar-Elect

Vivek Naranbhai (23) is the son of Prof Bharti Odhav and Dr Raj Naranbhai. He grew up in Durban and attended Crawford College La Lucia, where he was the head boy and dux pupil and matriculated with 8 distinctions, ranking 1st in KZN. He won numerous South African and international awards in primary and high school for academic activities, public speaking, debating and humanitarian service. Between 2004-2009 he was concurrently registered as the first student to combine an MBChB, a BSc.MedSci.Honours in Medical Microbiology and a Masters degree in Immunology. In 2007 he was the Fogarty-Ellison International Fellow and was the Pfizer Young Health Scientist of the year. In 2008, Vivek became a CAPRISA/LIFELab research fellow. He graduated summa cum laude in 2009 from the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine with both degrees, was the holder of the KZN prestige scholarship throughout university and was the NRMSM dux of 2009. He concurrently pursued a PhD in HIV immunology under the mentorship of UKZN-, Columbia University- and Harvard University-based researchers and is due to complete in 2011. In 2010, Vivek led a Cochrane review team studying interventions to prevent HIV in homeless youth. He is the Deputy Director for Vaccine and Pathogenesis at the Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). Vivek enjoys reading, classical and world music, hiking the Drakensburg, snorkeling and travelling. He will read for a second DPhil in Oxford in Clinical Medicine focusing on computational biology and molecular genetic epidemiology. (Contact: 083 382 8612)

Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland Scholar-Elect

Ludo Sabone (22), daughter of Beauty and Morolong Sabone, was born and raised in Botswana. She attended Maru-a-Pula Secondary School in Gaborone where she was a member of various service societies including Cheshire Children's Foundation, Naledi Teaching, Tree Planting and Hospital Visiting. In 2004, Ludo was awarded a prestigious scholarship to attend Aiglon College in Switzerland where she finished secondary school. She then came back to Africa, where she pursued a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Economics and Business Management at the University of South Africa in Durban, and graduated cum laude. In 2010, Ludo enrolled at the University of Cape Town where she completed an Honours Degree in Economics, graduating cum laude. Whilst in varsity, Ludo also enjoyed being a member of the Capoeira and Fencing Societies. She has a passion for travelling and enjoys the performing arts. Ludo plans to study the one year MSc in Economics for Development at Oxford, after which she will pursue a career in social entrepreneurship.

Schools' Scholars-Elect

SOUTH AFRICAN COLLEGE SCHOOLS (SACS): Brennan Hodkinson (23) is the 2010 Rhodes Scholar-elect from the South African College High School (SACS). Son of Dr Bruce and Mrs Marylyn Hodkinson, Brennan matriculated from SACS in 2005 after serving as the head boy. Brennan studied Civil Engineering and Economics at the University of Cape Town and during his time there was actively involved in Ubunye and Engineers Without Borders. He is currently reading for an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development at St John's College, Cambridge and intends to read for an MSc in Economics for Development at Oxford.

DIOCESAN COLLEGE (BISHOPS): John Hodges (23) is a born and bred Cape Town boy and son to Mark and Liz Hodges. He was awarded the Bishops Scholarship to attend Diocesan College, where he matriculated in 2005 with 6 distinctions. A college prefect, he was also involved in a variety of school activities and achieved full colours for academics, cricket and music. John enrolled for a Bachelor of Business Science degree at UCT in 2007 and continued his involvement in a broad range of interests. A keen sports enthusiast, John participated in rugby, hockey, cricket and squash while at university, with a position on the UCT cricket committee in 2009/2010. His commitment to the community saw him participate in SHAWCO and Habitat for Humanity, the latter of which he would go on to chair in 2010. He graduated cum laude with honours in Finance (CA) at the end of 2010. He hopes to pursue a one-year MSc in Economics for Development, followed by an MSc in Financial Economics during his time at Oxford.

PAUL ROOS GYMNASIUM: Ha-Eun Grace Kim (23), daughter of Rev Jae-Soo Kim and Mrs Sun-Hi Kim, grew up in Stellenbosch after having moved from South Korea at the age of 2. The first girl to receive the honour of being a Paul Rhodes Gymnasium Scholar-elect, Grace attended Rhenish Girls' High School, from where she matriculated with 7 distinctions and an aggregate of 102%. She went on to study for a BA Languages & Culture and a BA Honours in English Literature at Stellenbosch University, and received both degrees cum laude before progressing to her MA with Professor Meg Samuelson. During her time at university, Grace has been involved in various cultural and community development projects, most recently as Brightest Young Minds Organising Committee President 2010. She has also published poetry, essays and reviews in local and international publications and journals. Having recently completed her Masters, Grace will be working on EDGE Campus, an exciting new South African education initiative (www.edgecampus.co.za) before leaving to Oxford to read for a DPhil in English.

ST ANDREW'S COLLEGE: David Springer (23) is the son of Bill and Dodie Springer and grew up in Grahamstown. He matriculated with seven distinctions and academic honours from St. Andrew's College in 2005 where he was a school prefect and deputy head of house. David was captain of his cricket team, as well as vice-captain of the first hockey team and also achieved provincial selection. David is an avid bagpiper and was selected as the St. Andrew's College Pipe Major in 2005 and was awarded Cultural Honours in the same year. Besides winning the junior national solo championships in 2006 he has played at international music festivals in Scotland and South Korea and was selected as the lone piper at the Basel Tattoo, Switzerland in 2008. David went on to study Mechatronics engineering at the University of Cape Town, where he attained the class medal in his third year and graduated with first class honours. While at UCT, David was actively involved in SHAWCO, where he coordinated and taught mathematics and hockey lessons for children in Khayelitsha. He excels at cycling, too, and received a silver medal for the Two Ocean's half marathon in 2009. David has started his MSc in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford on a Sloane-Robinson scholarship and will read for a DPhil in Biomedical Engineering


About the Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarships were established in the will (1899) of the British diamond magnate and imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes, who left a substantial fortune to fund the studies of scholars at the University of Oxford. He died in Cape Town in March 1902.

Since 1902, more than 6,000 scholars from over thirty countries have benefited from the Rhodes Scholarships, which were initially established for the former British colonies, the USA and Germany. It has since been expanded, and today about 90 Rhodes Scholarships are awarded each year in countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The University of Oxford was ranked first in Europe with Cambridge in the 2010 World University Rankings, published by The Times Higher Education Supplement, and sixth in the world. It is the oldest university in the English speaking world and dates back to the late 11th century.

The First Black Rhodes Scholars in South Africa

In 1976 the South African Rhodes scholarships made history with the selection of Sheila Niven, the first woman scholar, and Ramachandran Govender, the first black scholar. Before 1976, women were controversially excluded by a clause in Rhodes's will. A year later, in 1976, Loyiso Nongxa was selected as the first African Rhodes Scholar in South Africa.

Famous South African Rhodes Scholars

Professor Loyiso Nongxa (1978), vice chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

Justice Edwin Cameron (1976), judge in the Supreme Court of Appeals Laurie Ackerman (1954), retired Constitutional Court Judge Julian Ogilvie-Thompson (1953), former chairman of De Beers and Anglo American Other famous Rhodes Scholars from around the world include former US president Bill Clinton, elected in the American constituency of Arkansas for the year 1968.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation and Scholarship

In February 2002 the Mandela Rhodes Foundation was established in Cape Town following a contributed of £10 million (R140 million) over a decade by the Rhodes Trust in Oxford. This grant will fund the Mandela Rhodes Scholarships, child healthcare and sporting facilities to disadvantaged communities, amongst others.

"The Rhodes Scholarships are inextricably linked to the history of South Africa. The diamonds extracted from South Africa's soil have made it possible for Rhodes Scholars to become Rhodes Scholars. The question every Rhodes Scholar must now ponder is how to return something of the benefits they have received," said Nicky Oppenheimer, the Chairman of De Beers, at the unveiling of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

In his speech at the launch of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, former president Nelson Mandela said of the tying of his name to that of Rhodes: "By combining our name with that of Cecil John Rhodes in this initiative, is to signal the closing of the circle and the coming together of two strands in our history."

The chair of the selection committees of both the South African Rhodes Scholarships and the Mandela Rhodes Scholarships is Professor Jakes Gerwel.

Statement issued by the Rhodes Trust, December 13 2010

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