Nicole Germiquet, Lisa Maholo and Sanaa Abrahams have been awarded the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarships for 2014. Inspired by a deep love for their subject matter, which ranges from ethnomusicology to service delivery, Germiquet, Maholo and Abrahams are shining examples of the passion which often underpins success.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation offers young Africans who exhibit academic prowess as well as broader leadership potential an educational opportunity unique on the continent. While students pursuing their chosen postgraduate degrees, each scholar benefits from access to leadership development programmes, rooted in the principles underpinning the Foundation.

The Mandela Rhodes scholars are selected according to their academic ability and leadership potential. The vision of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation is “building exceptional leadership capacity in Africa.” Exemplifying the Rhodes motto – “Where leaders learn”.

Inspired by a deep love for music and helping people, Germiquet’s journey to postgraduate studies at Rhodes has not been without its challenges. After completing a Bachelor of Arts at Stellenbosch University she felt drawn to Ethnomusicology as a way of combining her two great loves.

Today she is reading for a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology and focusing on the music of the Presbyterian church of Mozambique, working with the Changana (Shangaan) people of Facazissa in the Magude District of Mozambique.

“It has always been a great interest of mine to merge the social and the musical in my studies and Ethnomusicology is a perfect subject path to do that. For many years now I have been interested in Music Therapy and childhood development using music as a tool for healthy physical and intellectual development. While these interests are not my particular study focus at the moment they still remain high on my priority list,” she added.

On hearing the news of the scholarship Germiquet said she could hardly believe her ears. “To be honest I never saw myself as a high achiever in school and university and never thought of myself as being ‘good enough’ for a scholarship like this one.”

“I have always just done what I love doing. But I think that is what makes all the difference. I did not excel in everything that I did but I excelled in that which I loved, music and art. I kept my interests at the core of my thoughts and let things develop from there,” she said.

For Maholo, a Grahamstown resident who will start reading for her Masters degree in management next year (2014). She will be researching the Water Management System of Makana Municipality with a focus on the internal and external risks that affect the municipality’s level of water service delivery. The scholarship represents many years of dedication to her dream of improving local service delivery in her community.

“During my teenage years, I used to day dream about one day graduating from Rhodes University. I used to see myself walking around campus during autumn and just imagine myself running to lectures.  So one could easily say I found the institution in a world where even money didn’t matter, I chose Rhodes University in my dreams. I saw the impact it had on my community and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to better my family situation and I saw Rhodes as a way of doing that,” she said.

Abrahams, originally from Cape Town, is currently completing her undergraduate studies and will be pursuing Honours degree next year. She said she has been moved by the Mandela Rhodes Foundations approach to leadership, which has inspired her.

“I think the awe-inspiring thing about the Mandela Rhodes Foundation is that it seeks to promote ethical leadership that is based in a respect for, and passion to promote, human dignity. And for me, scholarship, and specifically philosophy, is indispensable to this. I think it speaks to whether we can, in recognising ourselves as percipient creatures, act with responsibility and understanding of how we live in the world.”

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF), based in Cape Town, is one of the three official charitable organisations established by Mr Nelson Mandela, the others being the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. The MRF is a partnership with the Rhodes Trust, which separately administers the Rhodes Scholarships to Oxford University. Further information on the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is available on their website:

Photo: From L-R Nicole Germiquet, Lisa Maholo, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat and Sanaa Abrahams

Article source: Rhodes University