New Mellon Mays undergrad cohort

21 May 2018 | Story Kathy Erasmus. Photos Robyn Walker. Read time 2 min.
The new MMUF cohort for 2018 (from left): Zoe Meiring, Karabo Makwela, Angel Mokae, Em Rahbeeni and Aleya Banwari.
The new MMUF cohort for 2018 (from left): Zoe Meiring, Karabo Makwela, Angel Mokae, Em Rahbeeni and Aleya Banwari.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) programme is named in honour of Dr Benjamin Mays, the noted African American educator, statesman and mentor to Dr Martin Luther King. It is funded by the AW Mellon Foundation and aims to create a legacy of qualified and gifted scholars who themselves will one day become academics and further the aims of the fellowship by increasing and strengthening diversity amongst faculty in colleges and universities.

Each year at the University of Cape Town (UCT) five talented students are selected from specific disciplines within the humanities as MMUF fellows. The Mellon Mays programme at UCT recently held a dinner to welcome the 2018 cohort: Aleya Banwari, Karabo Makwela, Zoe Meiring, Angel Mokae and Em Rahbeeni.

Representatives of last year’s MMUF cohort (from left): Olerato Mogomotsi, Leila Strelitz, Brindley Fortuin and Zimingonaphakade Sigenu.

As part of the programme, these five students will be travelling to the University of Chicago in June to participate in the MMUF Summer Research Training Program, where they will each work on an independent piece of research.

The dinner was attended by many MMUF fellows, mentors and friends of the program. Sharing their wisdom with the new cohort on the evening were members of the 2017 cohort, Brindley Fortuin, Olerato Mogomotsi, Leila Strelitz and Zimingonaphakade Sigenu, who attended the University of Chicago programme last year.

Deputy vice-chancellors Professor Loretta Ferris and Associate Professor Lis Lange were in attendance at the MMUF welcome dinner, as well as the Acting Dean of CHED, Associate Professor Mbulungeni Madiba. The DVCs and the dean joined the aspiring academics in discussion about grappling with the idea of a decolonised and transformed university.

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