Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship

Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship


Sonita Alizada

Election Year: 2023

Election Constituency: Global

Scholar Status: Scholar Elect

Rhodes Identifier: Afghanistan, 2023

Sonita Alizada


Sonita is a rapper and activist from Afghanistan. She was born under the Taliban regime, and the war and hunger forced her family to leave Afghanistan for Iran. They made it to Iran walking countless miles on foot in winter. In Tehran, where she was denied access to education, she began to take secret music classes since in her religion music is banned. She become a rapper after hearing Eminem’s rap songs.

Almost sold into marriage twice at age 10 and again 16, she met Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, an Iranian filmmaker, who recorded her journey in a documentary called “Sonita” which won Grand Jury Prize at Sundance film festival. Soon after, she recorded her song "Daughters for Sale,” which led her to receive a full scholarship to come to the US. Today, she lives in the United States.

This is not where her story ends. Today, she is a storyteller. She speaks of stories of brave women around the world.

Sonita is currently a Bard College student in the US, majoring in Human Rights and Music. One of her biggest goals is to use her music and story to feed women and girls' hope to find a reason for holding tight to their dreams.