'Overwhelmed by Mandela'

Twenty undergraduate students who received the Mandela Rhodes scholarship were congratulated by former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg yesterday.

Twenty undergraduate students who received the Mandela Rhodes scholarship were congratulated by former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg yesterday.

Mandela, wearing a colourful green silk shirt, spent a few minutes with each of the students swapping stories about their backgrounds and what they planned to study.

"Nobody can lead today without an education," he said.

Marlon Burgess said he was overwhelmed at meeting Madiba.

"It's overwhelming but I'm trying not to allow it to overwhelm me . just to engage with the human being that is Nelson Mandela," he said.

Burgess, who got the Nelson Mandela Rhodes scholarship, will study for an honours degree in anthropology at the University of Cape Town.

The class of 2007 - the biggest class yet in the three years of the programme's existence - comprises students from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Shaun Johnson, of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, said it was the nicest day of the year for the foundation when Mandela got to meet the scholars. - Sapa

X