The Community of Mandela Rhodes Scholars comprises current and past recipients of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship. We aspire to the principles espoused by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation: Leadership, Education, Entrepreneurship and Reconciliation.
We concur with our patron Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela when he challenged world leaders to deal with ever-increasing poverty and inequality; "Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom."
We intend to be that generation.
The idea of creating a post-scholarship platform for Mandela Rhodes Scholars has existed since the first cohort was selected in 2005. As many of the Scholars have reflected, there is something tangibly magical that happens when a group of Mandela Rhodes Scholars come together - the unique mix of incredibly diverse, yet all extremely talented, inspiring and committed young Africans gives rise to an astonishing array of debates and conversations, and an almost immediate sense of connection between the Scholars.
The 2006 cohort of Scholars put in place a task-team to explore the possibility of creating a sustainable vehicle within which to house the collective aspirations of the Mandela Rhodes Scholars as a community. The primary motivation for the establishment of such a body was two-pronged: firstly, to ensure a platform through which Scholars could sustain and establish connections with other Mandela Rhodes Scholarship recipients; and secondly, to create a platform to support the initiatives of Scholars and like-minded individuals to extend and realize the principles of education, reconciliation, social entrepreneurship and leadership through innovative projects and initiatives.
As part of its realization of the importance of the establishment of such a body, the Mandela Rhodes Foundation funded a short-term full-time position for one of the Scholars - the then-Chairperson of the task-team, Janet Jobson (2006 cohort) - to do the groundwork of establishing the Community of Mandela Rhodes Scholars. The inaugural Central Coordinating Committee for the CMRS was elected in May 2007, and the CMRS continued its development under the leadership of Tristan Gorgens (2006 cohort) and Julia Cloete (2005 cohort).