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The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship offers comprehensive funding for the core costs associated with your studies. It covers tuition for a one-year Honours degree or a two-year Masters degree in any field at a recognised South African institution of higher education. This includes tuition and registration fees, allowances for study materials, research, and medical aid, accommodation and meals, personal allowance and economy class travel to and from your home country to your South African university at the beginning and end of your degree. You will also receive a personal allowance.

A Mandela Rhodes Scholarship enables a Scholar to study at a South African-located tertiary institution registered with the South African Council of Higher Education (and approved by the MRF) for an accredited postgraduate degree programme. The Scholarship is currently awarded for either a one year Honours or an up to two years Master’s degree, or their academic equivalents.


Leadership 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?

Reconciliation Do you believe that reconciliation - combined with reparation - is the key to harnessing an imperfect past to develop a more just world? And are you prepared to start the process by looking at your own internal landscape?

Education Do you have excellent academic results but believe that your education should not only benefit you but make a difference for others? And do you agree that intellectual excellence must be accompanied by character and a rounded personality?

Entrepreneurship 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?


If you are between the ages of 19 and 29, are a citizen of any African country, and have a first degree with above average academic results (70% or upper second), you are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is competitive. It is for young leaders who have a combination of intellect and character. You must be academically strong: your marks should be above 70% or an upper second. You must also have demonstrated leadership on your campus or in your community

The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is for postgraduate study (Honours and Masters degrees) in any field, with the exception of MBAs.

What costs are covered?

  • Tuition and registration fees as set by your university or institution

  • A study materials allowance as set by the MRF

  • Accommodation and meal allowances as set by the MRF

  • A medical aid allowance as set by the MRF

  • A personal allowance as set by the MRF

  • Research and conferencing grants can be made available on request

  • Economy-class flights for international scholars from their home countries to their institutions at the start and end of their studies

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation does not pay for your application fees for university, or for the accreditation of your existing degrees through SAQA, which may be an entry requirement to your course. They also do not provide financial support for visa applications.

How to apply:

You must apply online. You can log onto the applications platform to access your application and upload your documents and essays. The three people who write your recommendation letters must also log onto the platform to upload their letters directly. You must give them plenty of time to write their letters, sign onto the platform, and upload them. Your application cannot be submitted without the letters and will not be considered.

Where can I study?

You can study at:

  • AFDA, the School for the Creative Economy

  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Durban University of Technology

  • Mangosuthu University of Technology

  • Monash University

  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

  • North West University

  • Rhodes University

  • Tshwane University of Technology

  • University of Cape Town

  • University of Fort Hare

  • University of Free State

  • University of Johannesburg

  • University of KwaZulu-Natal

  • University of Limpopo

  • University of Pretoria

  • University of Stellenbosch

  • University of the Western Cape

  • University of the Witwatersrand

  • University of Venda

  • University of Zululand

  • Vaal University of Technology

  • Walter Sisulu University

Do I have to apply to a university before completing the application form? You must state what degree you are planning to study. You do not have to have applied or been accepted, but we highly recommend that you apply as soon as possible. If you do not get accepted into a South African institution, you will not be able to accept the scholarship if awarded. Apply early and have multiple options in case you do not get accepted to your first choice.

Does the MRF apply to the university for me? No. You must apply separately to your chosen tertiary institution for the degree you wish to undertake. The award is conditional on your being offered a place at the relevant institution. It’s best to apply to several universities in case you do not get accepted at your first choice and are unable to take up the scholarship as a result.

Get your documents ready

Important: Applicants from outside South Africa may need to complete SAQA verification to start their studies at a South African university. Please see below.

  • Recommenders: We require three letters of recommendation as part of your application. Your recommenders must submit their letters through our application platform.Without these letters, you cannot submit your application. Get in touch with three people who have relevant experience of you and insight into your character as soon as possible - even before applications open - to ask them permission and give them time to write their letters. Once you register a recommender on the platform, they will receive an email asking them to log on and upload their letter.

  • Documentation: You will be required to upload certificates of completion for your degrees, transcripts of your academic results, and scans of your ID and passport documents.

  • Essays: You will be asked to write two short essays, one on your personal journey, and one on a specific question relating to our principles.

  • Application for university: You will be asked to fill in your proposed course of study on your application. We do not require proof that you have applied, but we recommend that you apply as soon as possible, and to more than one university.

  • Do your qualifications meet the requirements for your proposed course of study? Each country has its own framework for registering and rating qualification levels. In South Africa, this is managed by the South African Qualifications Agency (SAQA). SAQA accreditation can take 4-8 weeks, which can delay your acceptance to university and thus your study visa to South Africa.

    • To ensure that you will be accepted for your chosen programme, we highly recommend that you find out as soon as possible what the National Qualification Framework (NQF) requirements for your course are, and whether your qualifications meet these requirements.

    • Masters programmes in South Africa may require several years of work or clinical experience as an admission requirement. It is your responsibility to check if you will be accepted to the course, and apply for backup options.

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