The Mandela Rhodes Scholarships aim to help in building leadership excellence in Africa.
A Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is more than a bursary, though the costs of Scholars are generously covered during their period of study.
The Mandela Rhodes Foundation offers young Africans who exhibit academic prowess as well as broader leadership potential an educational opportunity unique on the continent. While pursuing their chosen post-graduate degree, each Scholar benefits from access to leadership development programmes, rooted in the principles underpinning the Foundation.
In addition to the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of fellow-Scholars that spans the continent and academic disciplines, they become part of a wide-ranging network of young Africans of excellence who are expected to play leadership roles in their fields and societies in the years following their time ‘in residence’.
An African programme to address the needs of Africa

  • Open to citizens of all African countries.
  • For postgraduate study at a recognised South African university or tertiary institution (Honours and Masters degrees only at this stage).
  • Open to individuals holding a recognised first degree, and who would be under the age of 30 at the time of taking up the Scholarship.
  • Designed for individuals that reflect in their character a commitment to the principles of education, reconciliation, leadership and entrepreneurship, as detailed elsewhere on this website.

Selection Criteria
The Scholarships programme will seek candidates who identify with the values expressed in the document ‘Characteristics Sought in a Mandela Rhodes Scholar’, further elucidated by the Trustees as follows.

  • Leadership

By leadership, we mean the will and capacity to use one’s own personality and abilities to guide, inspire, and develop fellow human beings to achieve excellence in any area of endeavour. This leadership should be principled, strategic, and effective; it should carry moral authority and be visionary in pursuit of the advancement of individual and social fulfillment, human rights, human dignity, the achievement of equality and other fundamental freedoms. Personal success by a Scholar which does not translate into wider benefits for society does not in itself meet the goal of the Scholarships programme. Leadership could include, but does not necessarily presuppose, a career in the public sector.

  • Reconciliation

By reconciliation, we mean an embracing of human diversity, and a belief in a world in which all individuals and cultures enjoy equal rights and respect. This commitment to human reconciliation means seeking to make a contribution to freedom, peace and prosperity for all human beings, never to the exclusion of any category of humanity. It implies a generosity of spirit, and a willingness to harness an imperfect past to help develop a more just world.

  • Education

By education, we mean the pursuit of a high standard of scholastic attainment, certainly sufficient to meet the requirements of the course envisaged by the Scholar. In tandem with this we seek understanding that academic achievement on its own is not sufficient to justify selection – this is what is meant by a blend of character and intellect. Further, we seek a thoughtful understanding of how education writ large – not just the education of the individual Scholar – can be a tool for the advancement of human development.

  • Entrepreneurship

By entrepreneurship, we mean a belief in the critical role played by individual human effort, hard work, innovation and creativity in leading to the betterment of society and Africa’s place in the world. Scholars are required to exhibit vigour and integrity, and the energy to use their talents to the full, in pursuit of their own career and beyond its confines. Entrepreneurship in this conception could include, but does not necessarily presuppose, a career in the private sector.
Worth of the Award
A Mandela Rhodes Scholarship provides full funding for up to a maximum of two years of postgraduate study, to qualified citizens of African countries, at recognized South African tertiary institutions.
The Scholarship provides funds for tuition, accommodation, meals, a book allowance, and a travel allowance for each Scholar in residence.
The Scholarship is currently offered only for students pursuing an Honours or Masters degree or their equivalents, and the length of tenure of the Scholarship will depend on the length of the proposed course of study. Selection as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar does not guarantee entry into a South African tertiary education institution. You must make all applications separately to your preferred institutions.
How to Apply
Initial nominations are by-and-large processed through recognized South African tertiary institutions. Exceptions are made only for qualified candidates not currently based at a tertiary institution; in these instances applications may be made directly to the Mandela Rhodes Scholarships programme. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation undertakes long-listing and short-listing processes in preparation for final interviews.
Candidates short-listed to attend the final interview are required to submit an essay on a topic provided. All short-listed candidates are informed shortly after their interviews as to whether they have been successful.
Deadline: Mid-June each year.
For more information on the application process visit their website by clicking here.
The application form is here.
You can also download their application pack from here.