Congo (DRC) & University of Cape Town, 2018
Jessica Ilunga is led by the value of care in all her work. Her current mission is to design human-centred urban environments which promote wellbeing, especially positive mental health. Jessica also aspires to help emerge more socially-conscious and wholehearted professionals who work towards the betterment of our societies through transdisciplinary, transcontinental collaboration and experiential learning.
Jessica was born in Tsu, a small town in Japan and grew up in Likasi, DRC and East London, South Africa. Her hobbies include her love of writing personal essays and poetry; and photography.
Jessica has been a facilitator with the Global Citizenship Program and Engineering and Built Environment Faculty at the University of Cape Town (UCT), doing work in social justice education. She recently completed her internship with the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, doing facilitation and curriculum design in the Scholarship's Leadership Development Programme; as well as content creation for the MRF's Media and Communications Office. During her time with the MRF, Jessica was the editorial assistant for the Young African Magazine Issue 2 and wrote the cover story for the issue entitled "The Right To the City". Jessica completed a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning as a 2018 Mandela Rhodes Scholar at UCT. Her research focused on the role of radical planning in achieving urban justice. Her undergraduate degree was in Civil Engineering.
Jessica's passion for human-centred innovation led her to acquire a design thinking accreditation at UCT’s Hasso Plattner Institute for Design thinking.