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Delegation meets Sussex-Mandela Scholars in South Africa

Mandela Scholars and University of Sussex staff. L-R: Rorden Wilkinson, Marina Pedreira-Vilarino, Mariam January, Rhonwyn Cornell, Crystal Orderson, Anita Shaw, Anthea Lesch, Dorah Modise, Lavelle JoAnn Nomdo, Robert Yates

Activist and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Albie Sachs, with Rorden Wilkinson, Marina Pedreira-Vilarino and Robert Yates

A delegation from Sussex met with Sussex-Mandela Scholars this week in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The scholarship was established at Sussex in 1973 to protest against apartheid and raise the profile of Mandela’s struggle for freedom. Since then more 70 Mandela Scholars have graduated from Sussex.

Darlene De Jager, who came from a township on the Cape Flats, said the experience at Sussex had been transformative and life changing.

Matso Sexwale graduated with a BA Pyschology in 1994 and returned to South Africa to set up her own consultancy. She now runs a language school at Wits University.

Crystal Orderson, a senior journalist and broadcaster, reflected on how inclusive Sussex was and how for the first time in her life, she wasn’t seen as the ‘other’.

Fumani Mthembu, who graduated in 2009 with an MA in Science, Society & Development, said Sussex gave her the confidence and impetus to start her own business; ten years on, her company now employs 25 people.

The team also met with Professor Alan Hirsch, Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, at the University of Cape Town; Professor Lyle White, from the newly created University of Johannesburg Business School, to explore mutual connections; and Sussex alumnus and current UK Trade Policy Observatory associate fellow, Faizel Ismail.

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor Rorden Wilkinson said: “The stories we heard from the Mandela Scholars, some of whom played prominent roles in the anti-apartheid struggle, underscored the importance of scholarships and the scale of the contribution that the scholars have made to our university and to South Africa.”

By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Monday, 26 November 2018