The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is one of Nelson Mandela’s three official legacy organisations, founded in 2003 in partnership with the Rhodes Trust.
Our purpose is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa. We find, fund, and empower young Africans who aspire to use their talents to serve their societies and our continent. We do this by providing a postgraduate scholarship for young leaders to study in South Africa and participate in a residential Leadership Development Programme.Our programme is built on Nelson Mandela’s belief that leadership begins with inner transformation, and our founding principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
The scholarship combines financial support with a leadership programme that will challenge you, grow you, and connect you to young African changemakers - just like you.
Our programme is built on our founding principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership, and a belief that leadership begins with inner transformation. We aim to keep Nelson Mandela’s legacy alive by equipping young African leaders with the competence and courage to transform the continent into a place where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive. Our programme is delivered primarily through a series of week-long residential workshops which you will attend during your time in residence.
The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship offers comprehensive funding for the core costs associated with your studies. It covers tuition for a one-year Honours degree or a two-year Masters degree in any field at a recognised South African institution of higher education. This includes tuition and registration fees, allowances for study materials, research, and medical aid, accommodation and meals, personal allowance and economy class travel to and from your home country to your South African university at the beginning and end of your degree. You will also receive a personal allowance.
We look for young leaders who aspire to the principles below and who have demonstrated the potential to live them out.
Do you aspire to be a visionary leader who has moral authority? Do you see leadership as more than just personal ambition - as a way to pursue the advancement of equality and freedom, human rights and human dignity? And do you want to guide and inspire others to reach their full potential?
Do you believe that reconciliation - combined with reparation - is the key to harnessing an imperfect past to develop a more just world? And are you prepared to start the process by looking at your own internal landscape?
Do you have excellent academic results but believe that your education should not only benefit you but make a difference for others? And do you agree that intellectual excellence must be accompanied by character and a rounded personality?
Do you want to see Africa take its rightful place as an equal and competitive presence in the global world? Have you demonstrated individual effort, innovation and creativity to this end?
Where Can I study?
If you are between the ages of 19 and 29, are a citizen of any African country, and have a first degree with above average academic results (70% or upper second), you are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
We look for young Africans who have demonstrated the potential to embody our founding principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership. You must have already assumed leadership and made an impact on your campus or community.
To benefit from our programme you must be curious about doing the personal, internal work of leadership. This means a commitment to developing self-awareness by engaging with difficult parts of yourself, an openness to learning from the diversity and differences in your cohort, and a willingness to explore and embrace complexity within yourself, others, and the systems around you.
Important: Applicants from outside South Africa may need to complete SAQA verification to start their studies at a South African university. Please see the relevant FAQs and the information under "Step 3: Get your documents ready" below.
Our applications timeline runs from March to November of each year, for the following year’s intake. Applications open on 22 March 2022 and close 21 April 2022. You will apply online, and access our application platform through our website.