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Kyle Seakgwa

South Africa & University of Cape Town, 2020

Kyle is a young philosopher and an aspiring cognitive scientist with a passion for interdisciplinary knowledge, and the application of such knowledge to affect tangible and beneficial change.

Raised in a single-parent household on the Cape flats, but fortunate enough to have earned a scholarship to a prestigious boys high-school, Kyle's first-hand acquaintance with alarming inequality inspired him to combine his love for understanding the mind with a commitment to meaningful social change. Kyle was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate fellow at the University of Western Cape (UWC).. There he developed the firm belief that one way such change can be achieved is through diversification of the professorate, not only to provide future students from marginalised communities with role models in academia, but also to change academia to be more hospitable to such students.  He was recently able to put these beliefs into action as a lecturer of a course at UWC, while carrying out postgraduate research on the psychology of political philosophy as a fellow with the Centre for Humanities Research. He hopes this experience will lead to interventions to improve public discourse regarding polarising political issues.

As a member of the Class of 2020, he will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Information Technology, in order to gain expertise in another of the many branches of cognitive science. This will allow him to gain knowledge that will not only be useful in his future research, but also assist in his long-term goal of establishing a centre devoted to carrying out cognitive science research with potential political or educational application.

DecorationKyle Seakgwa

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 2024, 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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