Awonke Tshefu

Chemistry Faculty, University of Fort Hare

Awonke Tshefu hails from Nonibe Location in King Williamstown. He was brought up by his grandmother. He graduated from Toise High School in 2007 with distinctions in Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Geography. He then enrolled at University of Fort Hare for a Bachelor of Science. In 2011 he became one of the recipients of the Abe Bailey travel bursary. The recipients went to the United Kingdom from 23 November till 17 December 2011 on a tour focusing on community involvement and leadership.

He was also one of the few South African students to be picked to represent the country at the Annual Summer Practice held at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia in 2013. He is also currently pursuing an MSc Inorganic Chemistry still with the University of Fort Hare.

Five months ago he joined the Chemistry Faculty at Fort Hare as a member of the faculty. He has made history by becoming the first South African student at the University of Fort Hare to be the recipient of the Mandela Rhodes scholarship. The Mandela Rhodes foundation annually selects between 20-30 students from universities throughout the African continent. The goal of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship programme is to offer educational opportunities to young Africans with scholastic, intellectual and leadership potential to study at suitable tertiary institutions and to create a network of principled future leaders, with the capacity and will to advance themselves and their countries. The Scholarships aim to give expression to the legacy of academic excellence, leadership, education, reconciliation and entrepreneurship. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation bases its work on the belief that a shortage of individual human skills is a significant factor holding South Africa and Africa back from achieving the necessary levels of good governance and growth to allow the continent to take its rightful place in the globalised world. Through its signature programme, the Mandela Rhodes Scholarships, it seeks to address this need.

He attributes his success to motivation from his late grandmother who despite having given up on her dreams, didn’t fail to encourage him to reach for his.