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The Scholars

Melisa Clara Bhebe

Zimbabwe & University of Cape Town, 2023

Melisa Clara Bhebe holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree from the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe. She is driven to live a life larger than herself, committing to contribute to social change and community transformation through her profession and social entrepreneurship.

She is the founder of Lwisani Uplifting Women in Education Foundation, a non-profit organisation that sponsors adolescent girls in her hometown of Hwange to complete school and lead community transformation through leadership training, personal development, sexual reproductive health education and career guidance. She envisages supporting up to 50 girls by 2030 to complete their secondary education. She is an alumnus of the Wells Mountain Initiative scholarship where she served on two boards within the organisation: the Global Advisory Board and the Scholar Review Board.

Melisa’s goal is to be a Public Health specialist involved in health advocacy, policy-making and research in African populations to curate contextualised solutions for African health problems using relevant evidence. She currently advocates for the equitable health of underserved populations in her country. She featured a presentation at the Global Women’s research society annual conference on decolonisation of global health in 2020 and through her public health studies, Melisa plans on amplifying and contributing to efforts in decolonising global health in Africa. She believes that young Africans have the power to bring all the social change they want to see, and it begins with an individual decision to be part of that change.

DecorationMelisa Clara Bhebe

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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