Economist Diederick (Dee) Ferrandi plans to hone his skill as a researcher at Oxford University and to return home to apply what he's learnt to make a difference in the lives of his fellow South Africans.
Rhodes scholar Diederick Ferrandi relishes the challenge of studying at Oxford and looks forward to emerging from the experience a better person and better able to grapple with the problems facing South Africans.
In addition to his BCom majors, Ferrandi – better known as Dee – completed a major in philosophy with distinction. He was the overall top student in the BCom class of 2014 and will soon add an honours in philosophy to his honours in economics.
He views Oxford University as a personal challenge, “[It] is a challenging place, and I'm sure at times it will feel like a very harsh and demanding environment. I hope to learn from this experience and return to South Africa a better person for it – as opposed to simply being a better thinker or having better skills.”
He plans to study towards an MPhil in economics. “The main reason for this is that it gives me the opportunity to further my interest in economics, and gain the technical skills necessary to be a good researcher. A further reason is that studying this course at Oxford will expose me to some of the great current and future thinkers in the field,” he explained.
His role models – which include John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Milton Friedman and David Hume – point to his twin interests in economics and philosophy.
A degree of uneasiness
He describes the scholarship as “a wonderful opportunity”, but says his excitement has been tempered by Rhodes' “dark and contested legacy”.
“This internal conflict is further exacerbated by my own relatively privileged background, which may have unfairly put me in a better position to win the scholarship compared to many others.
“My way of reconciling these internal debates – imperfect and tentative as it is – is to regard the scholarship as a responsibility, as creating an obligation to serve South Africans humbly, especially those most in need. I hope that this is enough to justify the opportunity, and I hope I'm able to live up to this lofty goal.”
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