He is a recipient of a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship because of his impressive academic record and leadership skills. Yet, Sakhe Mkosi aims to use this opportunity as a platform for further activism to promote decolonisation and transformation at the world-renowned University of Oxford.
"I feel an ethical tension in accepting a Rhodes Scholarship. Once I am at Rhodes House [in Oxford] I will get involved in initiatives such as Redress Rhodes, which seek to address the remnants of [Rhodes'] sordid colonial history, particularly insofar as they linger within the scholarships themselves," explained Mkosi, who is studying towards an MPhil in Public Policy and Administration at UCT.
He plans to add to this with a degree in development studies from Oxford.
Mkosi came through the Faculty of Commerce's successful Education Development Unit (EDU). Daniel Munene, his mentor and EDU coordinator, describes him as someone with a keen "awareness of the extent of social inequalities and how education can be used to make a difference in South Africa and other parts of the world".
Matriculating from Pretoria Boys' High with a 90% average and distinctions in all seven subjects, Mkosi said he felt like an "impostor" in the EDU programme. He does however commend EDU for its role in facilitating his transition into UCT.
He obtained his BCom degree with distinctions in financial reporting, management accounting, taxation and corporate governance and achieved a grade point average of 86%. He pocketed seven class medals and was on the dean's merit list each year from 2011 to 2013. He went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting, with a distinction in financial reporting.
A campus leader
Mkosi considers his election in 2012 to the position of treasurer of Smuts Hall's house committee a highlight of his undergraduate career.
"I used my term to bring about long-lasting infrastructural changes as well as promote financial transparency. I advocated for and oversaw the purchasing of items such as a quality public address system, new benches, an electronic house notice system and microwaves for each flat. In the pursuit of improved financial transparency, I created a digital bookkeeping system that has been used by subsequent treasurers and published regular financial reports for the viewing by all members of the residence, all of which was novel at the time."
He also served as treasurer of the Student Sport Union. He was a mentor in the College of Accounting's EDU/Thuthuka Support Programme. Outside of UCT he volunteered his time to help high school learners participating in the Township Debating League.
Prof Mark Graham from the College of Accounting expressed great pride in Mkosi's achievement. "We are absolutely delighted that Sakhe has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. I cannot think of a more deserving candidate."
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