The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is considered a home to many young and dynamic African leaders aspiring to continue with their post-graduate studies at South African universities. Scholars who are selected for the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship are hand-picked on the basis of their ability to blend intellect with character. Furthermore, these scholars should represent the four pillars drawn from the legacies of the patrons of the scholarship which are Leadership, Reconciliation, Entrepreneurship and Education.

On 11 April Mandela Rhodes Scholars based in Gauteng gathered in Roodepoort to attend a Leadership Development Seminar at Monash South Africa. The purpose of the seminar was to engage with leaders of various student organisations on campus. This forms part of a broader community service initiative meant to explore issues of leadership, which is an integral part of the vision of the Mandela Rhodes community.

The seminar was centred on the variant ways in which student leaders can apply self-leadership to their daily activities, where scholars elicited examples from personal experiences to demonstrate how a sense of clarity in self-leadership correlates with a leader’s ability to empower communities.   Participants explored the defining characteristics of a community in relation to what it means for one to be an ethical leader.  There  were disparate views  on  what  makes  an  ethical  leader  but  the  general consensus  was  that  honesty,  accountability  and a  leader’s  commitment  to   protecting  the surrounding physical environment are some of the desirable attributes that should not be compromised.

Another interesting topic of discussion was personal branding. The emphasis here was that leaders need to focus more on their positive attributes in order to enhance their leadership styles and capabilities. In relation to community branding, student leaders encouraged each other to engage in sustainable communities solutions that can continue to thrive even in the absence of the support rendered by the Monash student community.

Monash South Africa’s Director of Community Engagement, Mr. Craig Rowe, expressed a word of thanks to MRF Scholars for bringing the workshop to Monash South Africa and asserted that the institution values student driven initiatives because this avails an opportunity for students to grow and mature. Lisa Sidambe, a Mandela Rhodes Scholar resident at Monash; acknowledged the support received from Professor Louw, Monash South Africa’s Academic President as well as Hester Stols, Monash South Africa’s research coordinator in making the event a success.