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The Scholarship
The Scholars

Ulemu Kanyongolo

Malawi & University of Cape Town, 2023

Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo is a Malawian lawyer and human rights activist. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Malawi. In 2018 Ulemu founded the Young Feminists Network, a network aimed at facilitating dialogue amongst young Malawian feminists and engaging in advocacy for gender equality and social justice. Ulemu was the President of the Gender Justice Clinic at the University of Malawi from 2016-2018, through which she was involved in research, awareness and advocacy on gender-related issues in tertiary institutions. Ulemu currently sits on the boards of PEPETA Malawi and Y-Plus Malawi, and is Chairperson of the Southern Region Chapter of Malawi Women Human Rights Defenders. Ulemu is passionate about global human rights issues and participated in the Global Strategy processes of Oxfam and Amnesty International as a youth representative in 2019, and is currently a board member of the Athena Network’s Young Women Governance Board. Ulemu has several publications in the areas of gender, development and law. She hopes to make meaningful contributions to human rights discourse in Africa and beyond, and intends to use litigation as a tool for the promotion and protection of human rights. Being a Mandela Rhodes Scholar will enable Ulemu to realise her dream of a world where young, dynamic African leaders take charge of their own destinies and influence change.

DecorationUlemu Kanyongolo

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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