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The Scholarship
The Scholars

Jessica Breakey

South Africa & University of Cape Town, 2015

Jessica is an Associate Lecturer at the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand where she lecturers an interdisciplinary course on Sociology and Technology. Broadly she explores questions of responsive and responsible technology. Jessica has worked as a researcher for the South African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) and the Human Science Research Council (HSRC). She has published articles in the Journal of Moral Education and the Oxford Handbook for Global South Youth Studies. She co-authored Moral Eyes: Youth and Justice in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa with the HSRC Press (2018). Jessica was a Mandela Rhodes Scholar in residence in 2015 during which she completed her honours degree in African Studies at UCT. Since then she has graduated with an MA by research in Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand where she looked at the role of fire in protests and an MPhil in Sociology of Media and Culture from Cambridge University where her research focused on race and digitality. She was awarded the Oppenheimer Memorial Scholarship and the Chevening Scholarship respectively. With the support of the Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholarship Jessica will try to better understand the movement of African migrants across the Mediterranean. She hopes to move beyond critiques of toxic humanitarianism and think about how we can start to build alternative infrastructures of solidarity. She loves exploring public parks in Johannesburg with her dog Milly and is incredibly proud that she knows the name of almost every dog in Emmarentia Park.

Jessica Breakey is a 2021 Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholar. Read more about the scholarship .

DecorationJessica Breakey

Could you be a Mandela Rhodes Scholar?

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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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