Established in 2003, in collaboration with the Rhodes Trust, the Mandela Rhodes Foundation is one of the three official legacy organizations of Nelson Mandela. Its primary objective is to cultivate outstanding leadership potential in Africa by identifying, financing, and empowering young Africans who desire to utilize their abilities to benefit their communities and the continent as a whole.
The foundation provides a scholarship for postgraduate studies to young leaders who wish to pursue higher education in South Africa and take part in a residential Leadership Development Programme. The program is based on Nelson Mandela's belief that effective leadership necessitates inner transformation, as well as the foundation's founding values of leadership, education, entrepreneurship, and reconciliation.
The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is a comprehensive financial aid programme that also includes a leadership development programme. The leadership development programme is grounded in the principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership, which are intended to transform the inner selves of young African leaders. The programme comprises week-long residential workshops, which are held during the scholar's period of residence.
The scholarship provides funding for a one-year Honours degree or a two-year Masters degree in any field at a recognized South African institution of higher education. The scholarship covers tuition, registration fees, study materials, research, medical aid, accommodation and meals, personal allowance, and economy class travel to and from the scholar's home country to their South African university at the beginning and end of their degree.
The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is designed for young African leaders who aspire to be visionary leaders with moral authority. The scholarship seeks individuals who view leadership as a means of pursuing the advancement of equality, freedom, human rights, and human dignity. Applicants must also show the potential to guide and inspire others to reach their full potential. The scholarship looks for individuals who believe in the importance of reconciliation, education, and entrepreneurship in developing a more just world. They must also have excellent academic results and demonstrate character and a well-rounded personality. Additionally, applicants should show effort, innovation, and creativity in their pursuit of Africa's rightful place as an equal and competitive presence in the global world.
The scholarship covers tuition and registration fees, a study materials allowance, accommodation and meal allowances, a medical aid allowance, a personal allowance, and economy-class flights for international scholars from their home countries to their institutions at the start and end of their studies. Research and conferencing grants can also be made available on request.
To be eligible for the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, applicants must be:
between the ages of 19 and 29
a citizen of any African country
possess a first degree with above average academic results, typically 70% or upper second
The scholarship's selection criteria prioritize individuals who have demonstrated the potential to embody the foundation's founding principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership by assuming leadership and making an impact in their community or on their campus.
Successful applicants will be committed to engaging with the personal, internal work of leadership, including developing self-awareness, learning from diversity, and exploring the complexity of oneself and others.
Applicants from outside of South Africa may need to complete SAQA verification to start their studies at a South African university, which can be found under "Step 3: Get your documents ready" below the relevant FAQs.
How to apply
Please note that applications for the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for 2024 are closed.
Applications run from March to November of each year, for the following year’s intake. Applications for 2025 open on 14 March 2024 and close on 21 April 2024. You can apply online, and access the application platform through the Mandela Rhodes website.