Building exceptional leadership in Africa

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Overview of the Scholarship

The Mandela Rhodes Scholarships Programme is a combination of financial support for postgraduate studies and a high quality leadership development programme, with the intention to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa.

A. Financial scope of the scholarship

The Scholarship covers the cost of a Scholar as follows:

  • Tuition and registration fees as set by the institution;
  • A study materials allowance as set by the MRF;
  • Accommodation and meal allowances as set by the MRF;
  • A medical aid allowance as set by the MRF;
  • Economy-class travel allowance for international Scholars only from the Scholar’s home to their institution at the beginning and back home at the end of their degree programme;
  • Personal allowance.

B. Leadership development programme

The leadership development programme is made up of the following three components.

  1. Three residential workshops;
  2. Three regional group pods;
  3. Mentoring.

Residential workshops

The heart of the leadership development programme is delivered primarily through a series of residential workshops. These highlight and engage critically with the characteristics sought in a Mandela Rhodes Scholar and the four principles of the Foundation, namely: Leadership, Reconciliation, Entrepreneurship and Education. The workshops create a unique opportunity to build the individual capacities of Scholars, provide the space to engage with high-profile leaders and expert thinkers, build a sense of community within the cohort and connect incoming Scholars to the broader Mandela Rhodes Community.

The Foundation holds three workshops of five days each during the year (15 days in total). Attendance to the workshops is compulsory for all Scholars. Since workshop dates will be given in advance, Mandela Rhodes Scholars must exercise their leadership where there are clashes with their academic calendars and make the necessary arrangements with their lecturers and/or supervisors to ensure full participation in the workshops.

Regional group pods

Group pods are regional gatherings which seek to:

  • Build stronger local support networks;
  • Continue particular conversations and areas of reflection and engagement to supplement learning from the residential workshops;
  • Enrich the residential experience once Scholars return home.


The third component of the programme is a volunteer mentoring programme. The purpose of this component is to:

  • Give Scholars in residence space for one-on-one reflection, advice and growth;
  • Allow alumni Mandela Rhodes Scholars to give back to the Foundation through volunteering their time serving as mentors;
  • Build intergenerational networks;
  • Enrich and support the journey of Scholars in their year-in-residence beyond the group gatherings.