UCT’s ‘Young Mandelas’

18 July 2019 | Story Carla Bernardo.

University of Cape Town (UCT) staff, students and alumni feature prominently on the second News24’s 100 Young Mandelas of the Future list, flying the flag high for the institution in 2019.

According to Adriaan Basson, News24ʼs editor-in-chief, these 100 young people, chosen from hundreds more nominations, remind South Africans that the characteristics which former president Nelson Mandela embodied – compassion, creativity, leadership, vision and resilience – are still thriving today.

The news site launched the 100 Young Mandelas list in 2018, to coincide with the centenary of Mandela’s birth.

Their readers help by nominating inspiring South Africans from all walks of life, all 35 years and younger. Then, from a shortlist, News24 journalists choose the top 100 inspiring young people, categorising them under one of the five “Mandela characteristics”.

“These are just some of this year’s stories and they are the reason why we dare not lose hope in South Africa,” wrote Basson.

“They should inspire us to be brave and courageous as we take the road ahead.”


“They should inspire us to be brave and courageous as we take the road ahead.”

UCT staff, students and alumni honoured this year:

Michaela Mycroft. Photo Supplied.


  • Michaela Mycroft is a graduate associate in the Centre for Law & Society, a multi-award-winning ability activist with cerebral palsy, the co-founder of the Chaeli Campaign, the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and, with Anita Engelbrecht, the first wheelchair athletes to complete the Comrades Marathon.
  • Mpumelelo Mhlongo is a Paralympian athlete and is pursuing his PhD in chemical engineering at UCT.
Mpumelelo Mhlongo. Photo Michael Hammond.
Shamila Mpinga. Photo Julian Goldswain.
  • Shamila Mpinga is a master’s student in mineral law at UCT and was awarded the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2017.


Dyllon Randall. Photo Robyn Walker.
  • Itumeleng Tsatsi is a UCT alumnus, a qualified occupational therapist and a lecturer specialising in psychiatry and community-based practice at the University of the Free State.
  • Sewagodimo Matlapeng holds a BSc(Hon) in computer science from UCT. She teaches coding to young people, particularly young black women and girls. She is also the creator of Buza Answers and founded Indoni Space and Women@DevC.
  • Shivad Singh is the founder and CEO of Head Start Education and a UCT alumnus.
  • Thamsanqa Hoza is a UCT computer science and information systems student. He received a Queen's Young Leader Award for the work he does to help young entrepreneurs and innovators achieve their goals.
Thamsanqa Hoza receives his Queen’s Young Leader Award from Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Photo British Ceremonial Arts LTD.
Zain Bana. Photo UCT Archives.
  • Thapelo Nthite is a mechatronics engineering student, an activist and the co-founder of Bothlale-AI Solutions.
  • Zain Bana is a UCT alumnus and the co-founder of an NPO called Black Young and Gifted (BYG). With funding and mentoring, BYG supports South African students of colour entering postgraduate studies in the university’s Department of Civil Engineering.


  • Jessica Dewhurst is a UCT alumnus, activist and the founder of human rights organisation, The Justice Desk.
  • Thina Maqubela is a UCT alumnus, a statistics lecturer at Rhodes University, the founder of Maqubs Academy of Excellence and she pioneered the Future Leaders Programme.
Queen’s Young Leader awardee Siposetu Mbuli (left) exchanges a word with the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, at Buckingham Palace. Photo British Ceremonial Arts LTD.


  • Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso is a UCT alumnus, medical doctor, award-winning author and the founder of the Grow Great Campaign. She is a Rhodes Scholar, holds a master’s in global health science and DPhil (PhD) in population health from Oxford University.
  • Phoka Luvuyo Mchunu is a UCT student and the founder of the peer-to-peer initiative, Generation We.
  • Siposetu Mbuli is a chemistry and oceanography graduate and was recognised as a Queen's Young Leader for her work in ending the stigma that surrounds albinism in South Africa.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.