The 9 Rhodes Scholars-elect from Southern Africa for 2010 are:
Kopano Matlwa (24), daughter of Mr. and Dr. Matlwa, grew up in Midrand, received a scholarship to attend St. Peter’s College in Sunninghill and matriculated from there with seven distinctions, was awarded Full Academic Colours and was selected as Head Girl. Kopano was also involved in the school’s community outreach projects, and it was this affinity for people, and an interest in the medical sciences that led Kopano to pursue a MBChB degree at the University of Cape Town. During her time at UCT, Kopano was class representative, a member of Clarinus House Committee, a SHAWCO volunteer, Orientation Leader, Mentor and member of the Golden Key Society. In her second year Kopano was awarded the Goldman Sachs Global Leader award and went on to represent South Africa at the Goldman Sachs Global Leadership Institute in New York City. Kopano is also an author, she has written two novels, Coconut 2007 and Spilt Milk, 2009, both published by Jacana Media. Coconut was awarded the European Union Literary award, the JD Baqwa merit award for the success of her novel and has been selected as Mail and Gaurdian’s 300 Young People you must take to lunch, two years running. She intends to pursue the MSc in Global Health at Oxford.
Chris McConnachie (23) is the son of Jock and Kary McConnachie and grew up in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. He matriculated with six distinctions from Graeme College in 2004 where he was the Deputy-Head Prefect, a recipient of a Gold Award in the President’s Award programme and the winner of the National English Olympiad. He was awarded an Anglo American Open Scholarship for his undergraduate BA studies at Rhodes University where he majored in Philosophy, Economics and Law. This was followed by a postgraduate LLB at Rhodes as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. Chris is passionate about debating, having won national debating championships at school and university level and was best individual speaker at the 2009 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Lagos. He has also been extensively involved in community engagement work including the development of schools debating in the Eastern Cape as well as serving as a legal advisor at the Rhodes Legal Aid Clinic. He will be working as a law clerk at the Constitutional Court from January next year before leaving for Oxford where he hopes to read for a BCL.
Malebogo Ngoepe (22) is the daughter of Phuti and Junia Ngoepe. She grew up in Polokwane and attended St Andrew’s School for Girls in Johannesburg where she matriculated with eight distinctions. In school, her main interests were piano, other musical activities and science. She completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town. While there, she took part in various community activities and founded the South African Science Foundation for Youth, an organization aimed at attracting high school learners to science related careers. She is interested in applying her engineering skills to the human body and will read for an MSc in biomedical engineering at Oxford.
Mari Rabie (23), daughter of Dr Lodewyk and Riana Rabie, grew up in Stellenbosch where she attended Bloemhof Girls’ High School. She matriculated in 2004 with 6 distinctions, placing 5th on the Western Cape merit list, with the highest marks South Africa for accounting (100%). She enrolled in a Bcomm Actuarial Science at the University of Stellenbosch in 2005. Being an avid athlete she combined studies with racing on the international professional triathlon circuit, allowing her to travel extensively while pursuing her sporting endeavours. She represented South Africa at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In 2008 she became the first African to ever medal at an Elite World Championship level with a bronze at the World U23 Champs in Vancouver. After an Olympic year academic sabbatical Mari graduated in 2009. Mari has been actively involved in Funda Fundisa, a tutoring program for previously disadvantaged scholars in Kayamandi. She recently also became involved in the Anna Foundation as a Maths and Afrikaans tutor and athletics mentor. The mission of the Anna Foundation is to assist disadvantaged schools/communities in the Stellenbosch area by providing academic, social and environmental support and equipping children with skills for lifelong learning. Mari spends her free time reading, watching art movies and sailing, hiking or surfing with family and friends. Mari will pursue the Msc in Applied Statistics and the Msc in Financial Economics at Oxford.
Lyle Murray (26) is the son of Tim and Moira Murray. He grew up in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands and attended Wartburg- Kirchdorf Primary School and Michaelhouse, matriculating in 2001 with 8 distinctions. At Michaelhouse he was Deputy Headboy, Dux, represented the 1st cricket and rugby teams and was awarded the James Cameron Todd Award for outstanding service to the school. He studied medicine and graduated with MBChB (honours) from the University of Cape Town in 2007. In 2006 he was awarded the Berk Silber Prize for Surgery. Whilst at UCT he was an active committee member and project manager for both RAG and SHAWCO Health and also represented the university cricket, rugby and hockey teams. He completed his medical internship in 2009 in Bloemfontein where he became involved in HIV/AIDS research in collaboration with Oxford University. He enjoys sport, music, fly-fishing and photography. His interests include public health, HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases. He will read for a DPhil in Infection Immunology at Oxford with a focus on HIV/AIDS research.
Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland Scholar-Elect
Katlego Bagwasi (23), daughter of Dr Mompoloki Mmangaka Bagwasi, grew up in the village of Serowe where she attended St Gabriel’s Mission School but later moved to the capital city of Gaborone where she completed her International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE) with a Distinction at Maru a Pula School. She graduated top of her law class cum laude with a Second Class Upper Division in Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of Botswana where she was awarded the Chibanda Makgalemele Ngcongco Prize for Best Graduating Law Student in the 2008-2009 Academic Year and further the Law Society Prize for the Best Student in Clinic Legal Education for her tremendous work at the University Legal Clinic. In her time at UB, Katlego held the esteemed office of Judge President of the Student Judiciary and was the President and Secretary General of the Human Rights Club and the UB Law Society. She has also represented her university at the 17th African Human Rights Moot Competitions and was one of the top Oralists in the Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland Intervarsity Moot Competitions in 2008. Outside the classroom, Katlego has worked with non-governmental organisations like Ditshwanelo, Interact Rotary Club, Camphill Service and SOS to raise legal awareness in communities, and raise funds for activities aimed at orphans and people living/ affected by HIV/AIDS. She had recently organised through the Feminist Task Force and the Global Call Against Poverty, the first Tribunal on Women Against Poverty in Botswana. For the past two years, Katlego has interned at Makuyana Legal Practice (law firm) to gain legal process exposure and is currently a Pupil Attorney at Monthe Marumo & Co. Katlego will read for a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) before pursuing an MPhil in the same discipline at Oxford.
South African College School
Galen Sher (23) is the 2009 Rhodes Scholar-elect from the South African College High School (SACS). Son of Barbara and Mark Sher, Galen attended SACS for twelve years and matriculated there with seven distinctions. In school his interests were violin, piano, singing and drama and Galen participated and soloed in numerous dramatic and musical productions, jazz bands and orchestras. Galen graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2008 with a First Class Honours degree in Business Science (Actuarial Science stream) and with distinctions in Statistics and Economics. A founding member of the Green Campus Initiative, he held committee positions in SHAWCO and the Investment Society, and he won many undergraduate class medals and scholarships. Galen currently works for an actuarial consultancy in Cape Town and is concurrently completing his Master of Business Science in Actuarial Science, researching the reforms of the South African social security system. At Oxford Galen will read for the MPhil in Economics.
Paul Roos Gymnasium
Pieter Koornhof (22) is this year’s Rhodes Scholar-elect from Paul Roos Gymnasium. The son of Dr AJ Koornhof (South Africa-at-Large and Hertford, 1980) and grandson of Dr PGJ Koornhof (Paul Roos and Hertford, 1948), he is a third generation Rhodes Scholar. Pieter matriculated in 2005 with an A-aggregate and full honourary colours in both academics and oratory. During his time at Paul Roos he won the UCT Mathematics Olympiad, several provincial debating and oratory competitions and was awarded the De Humanitate Award for consistent academic and cultural contributions to the school. Aside from serving on the student council, he was also chairperson and captain of the debating society, deputy editor of the school newspaper and a member of the athletics team. In 2008 Pieter completed a B Accounting cum laude at the University of Stellenbosch, placing under the top 2% of his class. While studying at Stellenbosch, he won the National University Debating Championships, played hockey for Wilgenhof Residence and was a subject co-ordinator at Funda Fundisa (a community development project in Khayamandi). In 2009 he received a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Cape Town, was a volunteer-educator at Ubunye (a community development project in the townships of Cape Town) and successfully completed the Two Oceans Half Marathon. In his free time Pieter is an avid classical guitarist and has a passion for literature and cinema. At Oxford, he will read for an MSc in African Studies and an MSc in Financial Economics.
St Andrew’s College
Clive Eley (22), son of Flora and Crispin, grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: matriculated with seven distinctions; head prefect, full academic and debating honours; Eastern Cape representation in both World Schools Style and Model UN debating formats; full colours for cricket and hockey; provincial hockey colours and captain of St Andrew’s 1st team. Continuing studies in Grahamstown at Rhodes University he obtained a BSc with distinctions in Chemistry and Mathematics: awarded Academic Honours after graduating with the second best final undergraduate results across all faculties at Rhodes University; top Founders’ Hall academic for three years running; recipient of Golden Key Chapter Award (for outstanding scholastic sporting and cultural endeavour); chairperson of the Debating Society, Chemistry Society, SRC Societies Council and Sub-Warden of Botha House; played 1st team hockey and cricket at SASSU games and debated at the World Universities Debating Championships in both Thailand and Ireland. Clive has lead several sports development initiatives in the greater Grahamstown community and is heavily involved in mathematics and debating outreach programs. His research interests are in the biomedical application of nanotechnology. Having recently completed his chemistry honours degree, he will be enrolled for a masters degree on a Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship before heading to Oxford to read for a DPhil in Chemistry.