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Abigail McDougall

Communications and Alumni Manager

Phone: 021 424 3346

Abigail McDougall joins the MRF in the role of Communications and Alumni Manager. This portfolio is focused on communicating the work of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation to both its stakeholders and to broader society, and on strengthening the alumni network in order to increase cross-cohort connection and collaboration towards greater societal impact. She is an experienced multi-platform storyteller, and is committed to finding innovative and sustainable ways to tell African and South African stories to the highest standards.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Abigail was the online editor of Marie Claire South Africa. Her mandate was to tell stories that resonated with South African women, and she took up the challenge of making the legacy print brand relevant to a younger digital audience. In this role she developed the skills of content strategy, social media management, and digital marketing (including paid media and SEO strategy). Abigail is also a writer and journalist who has published work in the Daily Maverick, GroundUp, and Mail&Guardian online, as well as in the print edition of Marie Claire.

Abigail is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar in the Class of 2013. In her year in residence she studied at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, and lived in the Listen Live and Learn co-housing programme at the university. This combined experience of living, studying, and participating in three carefully structured transformative spaces showed her the profound role that skillful facilitation can play in transitions to a more just world. In 2014 she worked full time as a co-ordinator for Listen Live and Learn. This period taught her how to facilitate, lead, and participate in diverse groups and teams, experience which she has drawn on in many professional and personal contexts since then.

Prior to joining Marie Claire in 2016, Abigail completed her MA in Creative and Media Enterprise at Warwick University in the United Kingdom, on the Chevening Scholarship. Her dissertation on youth media in South Africa won the prize for best Major Project, and she graduated with distinction. She holds a BA in Journalism and Media Studies and an Honours in Politics and International Studies from Rhodes University, and a BPhil in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University.

Abigail served as the Secretary on the board of the Mandela Rhodes Community in 2014. She was selected to attend the Barclays Brightest Young Minds gathering in 2015, and has been a member of the Golden Key Society since 2009. In her free time she enjoys growing indoor plants, playing football, and spending time with her family.