Sowetan youth shines as Rhodes scholar

ACHIEVER: Nhlanhla Dlamini is off to Oxford next year after winning prestigious bursary. © Unknown.
ACHIEVER: Nhlanhla Dlamini is off to Oxford next year after winning prestigious bursary. © Unknown.

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

A young Sowetan yesterday jetted off to Oxford University to begin his masters degree in African studies.

Nhlanhla Dlamini, 23, born in Mofolo was this year selected as the new Rhodes scholar.

He was selected out of the Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

"I am overwhelmed at this stage and I am extremely grateful to all those who have influenced me and contributed to making me into the person I am today," said Dlamini.

He left yesterday for the US to complete his contract at McKinsey where he works as a business analyst.

He will return to South Africa in March next year before taking up his Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford.

"I decided to take a course in African studies mostly because I need to know more about the continent and its economics," he said.

Things started looking up for the Sowetan when in 1992 he won his first award for being the most conscientious student.

"It became clear to me that night that with even small opportunities and a little hard work, people can ultimately start changing their trajectory in life."

He matriculated at the top of his class from Marist Brothers College, Linmeyer in 2001 with five distinctions, scooping several key awards along the way.

Dlamini enrolled for a BCom degree in Information Systems at Wits University, graduating cum laude. He made it on to the Dean's merit list every year and was pronounced Wits University council's academic merit scholar from 2002 to 2004.

He was also awarded the Golden Key-Ford Motor Company scholarship in 2003 for his outstanding scholastic achievements. In 2005 he obtained a postgraduate diploma in management from the Wits Business School.

"In looking back at my background, I often find it difficult to reconcile the comfortable life I now lead with my tougher growing years. What allows me to stay connected with my former life is the fact that almost all of my childhood friends are still living in impoverished conditions," Dlamini said.

Other South African Rhodes scholars include Judge Edwin Cameron, Justice Laurie Ackermann, Wits vice chancellor and principal Professor Loyiso Nongxa and former Rhodes University vice chancellor David Woods.