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Mikhaila Steenkamp

South Africa & University of Cape Town, 2022

Mikhaila Steenkamp is an educationalist. She is committed to using her expertise in the education and development fields to contribute to the creation of a more equitable, inclusive, and self-actualised society.

As a Mandela Rhodes scholar Mikhaila will continue pursuing a Master of Education in Education Policy, Leadership and Change at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Prior to this, Mikhaila was a 2021 recipient of her university’s prestigious ‘Accelerated Transformation of the Academic Programme’ fellowship. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Development Studies (obtained with first class academic honours) from UCT, as well as Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Journalism and Media Studies (with distinction) from Rhodes University.

Mikhaila believes in leadership that affirms and develops the agency of all involved. She practiced this form of leadership as a prefect and head of her high school’s Academic Portfolio, and as Community Engagement Representative on her university residence’s House Committee. More recently, as a teacher who has worked in South African high schools, South Korean middle schools and the adult education sector in Argentina, Mikhaila has become particularly interested in how teachers can best be supported to develop and exercise their agency to empower their students, and to build bridges across cultures. She explores these questions through her studies, but also through her work: with the UCT student teachers she mentors as a tutor and supervisor, as well as with the teachers she supports through the Newly Qualified Teachers’ Project.

DecorationMikhaila Steenkamp

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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