2019 Mandela Rhodes Scholar

9 Nov 2018 - 14:30

Photographer: Sisanda Chasana

Athenkosi Nzala, a 2017 civil engineering graduate, is the recipient of a 2019 Mandela Rhodes Scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to build exceptional leaders in Africa whilst also seeking to foster better reconciliation and entrepreneurship through its various programmes.

Athenkosi has all the characteristics required to be a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. He is a leader who will make Africa proud. He is passionate about education and ensuring that young people today get an education they deserve, and he wants to fill them with hope for the future.

During his time as an undergraduate student, Athenkosi was an orientation leader, first-year mentor, member of the undergraduate student council and a member of the SRC. In June 2017, he was nominated as the LEADSA hero of the month, which acknowledges people for the work they do in their communities.

Athenkosi is the founder of AfrikaCan! Foundation, an NPO which has a tutoring and mentorship programme for young people. His vision is to fuel a passion for education and social success by encouraging and inspiring students to learn and think about how they learn.

In October 2018, after the terrible fire in Khayelitsha, Athenkosi was very concerned about the young school children, especially the matric students who needed hope and help to get them through their final exams. He provided tutoring and rallied the community to get involved. He said, “In times of disaster, the people of this country know how to come together to make difficult journeys less painful.”

He believes that if our youth are equipped with knowledge and compassion, we can conquer anything.

Athenkosi is registered for his master’s degree in education policy and online learning design. His energy is endless. Over the weekends, you can find him riding his bicycle all over Cape Town – reaching out to young high school learners – motivating and encouraging them and most of all giving them hope. If he is not in the classroom, you can find him with his camera, capturing beautiful shots of Cape Town and its surrounds.