A strong sense of passion and self-awareness are just some of the qualities that the newly appointed Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) CEO Judy Sikuza possesses.
Assuming her duties on August 1, the former deputy executive director of the organisation has hit the ground running.
Speaking to the GO!, the former Stirling High School pupil envisions changing society using education in accordance with the late Nelson Mandela’s vision.
“We need to reach out to all Pan-African countries where we can have more reach and impact, as well as our South African universities. The talents and passions of the alumni can be used to help our communities,” Sikuza said.
She believes the four principles of MRF, namley leadership, reconciliation, education and entrepreneurship, are key to driving this vision forward.
MRF scholars are citizens from Pan-African countries between 19 and 30 years of age, with aspirations to pursue postgraduate studies and be part of a leadership development programme.
There are currently about 400 alumni in 24 African countries.
Sikuza, is a former MRF scholar herself. Her studies , ignited a fire within herself that dared her to dream big.
“It was an amazing experience to connect to society, learning about the African continent and situating myself in a broader context. I ascribe to the vision and values of Madiba,” she said.
Speaking about leadership and character, Sikuza said that people do not hone in on the value of character in their societies and they need the challenge these world views.
“When I grew up, leadership was just a title and we did not describe what it is that one needs to be in order to be that leader.
“Character is also important, yet our egos get in the way. We have allowed a lot to manifest in our societies,” she said.
Sikuza believes that evolution is essential while living in a globalised nation, and that people must redefine systems to liberate themselves and re-imagine a new society.
“We need to harness the gift of collaborating through our disciplines, put our egos and attachments aside, appreciate our gifts and create something together,” Sikuza said.
“One thing that is certain is change, and we need to evolve or become irrelevant.”