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The Scholarship
The Scholars

Cynthia Nyongesa

Kenya & University of Cape Town, 2023

Cynthia Nyongesa is a Lawyer with a passion for international human rights, media law, and intellectual property. She worked with UNICEF Kenya as a Youth Advocate in communication, advocacy, and partnerships where she led in advocating for children’s rights and collaborating with the government of Kenya in reforming key laws and policies such as the Children's Bill.

Through her digital platform Cynthia Untamed, she developed a keen sense of communication and advocacy in amplifying the stories of young change-makers in Africa. As a global moderator, she breaks down complex topics in law, governance, education, and other national and international affairs. She has moderated high-level conferences such as the Transforming Education Summit at the UN General Assembly.

She was the Generation Unlimited Youth Ambassador for Kenya where she advised the global secretariat and the Office of the President of Kenya on its governance and advocacy structure on youth issues. Cynthia has championed the right to education through the Global Partnership for Education where she worked with the government of Kenya and the United Kingdom to raise USD 4 billion to enable the world’s most vulnerable children to go to school.

Cynthia has been ranked as one of the Top 35 under 35 youth in Kenya by the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs and the United Nations Volunteer of the year by the United Nations and Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. She is also a fellow of the International Monetary Fund.

DecorationCynthia Nyongesa

Could you be a Mandela Rhodes Scholar?

Take the quiz

Could you be a Scholar?


We look for young Africans who have demonstrated the potential to embody our founding principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

On 1 January 2023, I will be between the age of 19 and 29

I am a citizen of an African country

I have an undergraduate degree with above-average academic results (70% + or Upper Second Class Honours)


We look for young leaders who aspire to the principles below and who have demonstrated the potential to live them out.


Do you aspire to be a visionary leader who has moral authority? Do you see leadership as more than just personal ambition - as a way to pursue the advancement of equality and freedom, human rights and human dignity? And do you want to guide and inspire others to reach their full potential?


Do you admire Nelson Mandela’s ability to bridge historic divides through our common humanity? Do you believe that reconciliation and reparation are the key to transforming our societies so that everyone can have equal opportunity to thrive? And are you prepared to begin by grappling with your own internal divides and difficulties first?


Do you have excellent academic results, but believe that your education should not only benefit you but make a difference to others? And do you understand that intellectual excellence must be accompanied by character and a rounded personality?


Do you want to see Africa take its rightful place as an equal and competitive presence in the global world? Have you demonstrated individual effort, innovation and creativity to this end?


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