His name is Mfundo Radebe, he’s 18-year-old, his home is in Umlazi and like every other kid, he was told, irrespective of factors that suggests otherwise, that his future is bright and that he’s a leader of tomorrow. Those things inspired Radebe’s dreams, he remained focused and dedicated as he journeyed by taxi every school-day from his Umlazi home to Crawford College, La Lucia to be educated.
Radebe is passionate about politics and well-informed about the governments of the world which earned him the name “Mr President”. When “Mr President” as Radebe is fondly named by his friends, family and even teachers stumbled on the Magna Carta international creative essay competition while doing research online, he only thought it was cool, he gave it a shot and to his amazement, the essay competition has given his reasons to believe his future is indeed bright, and that he might end up a leader tomorrow.
Radebe has earned himself a full four-year scholarship that’s worth more than R4 Million to study government and African studies at the most prestigious university of the world. The young chap will be studying at Harvard University in the US for the next four years.
As it happened, young people in UK and Commonwealth countries were invited to come up with their own document that can contribute to the world agenda of safeguarding and promoting human rights, freedom, privileges and liberties in their own country or for the world at large.
As a Grade 12 pupil at Crawford College, Radebe related that he thought the essay competition “was cool and decided to write something” which he titled “Limiting the powers of government: South Africa’s Magna Carta”. According to him, he linked his essay ” specifically to South Africa’s democracy. It had an African central theme which underlined the hopes African people have throughout the continent.”
Eventually, he won the top honors in the senior category of the My Magna Carta international creative essay competition, and was celebrated in UK where Radebe’s granddad, Thokozani Radebe, who accompanied him to London tearfully commented that he thought he’ll get to see his grandson celebrated as an international champion.”
Telling his story, Radebe recounted that he has always felt that if he want to get to the point where he can make a difference in South Africa, he have to get the best education possible. With that, he constantly wrote letters, seeking a full scholarship at Crawford, and never gave up even though he was refused assistance many times.
From Grade 9, he asked for the scholarship, and was encouraged to continue applying each time he was rejected by Cathy Constable, a personal assistant to Principal Jenny Coetzee at Crawford La Lucia. His dedication paid off as he was eventually granted a scholarship to study for his 11th and 12th Grade at Crawford.
With his passion for politics, Radebe submitted his essay on how he would rewrite the laws of South Africa, his essays was selected as the best from Africa, he was invited to London to attend the final stage of the competition where he faced a panel of judges that includes professors from Harvard, Cambridge Universities, and other top British academics. He defended his essay, explained how it will help solve Africa’s problem, and won the senior category top honors of the My Magna Carta International creative essay competition.
The present peak of his achievements is his acceptance as a student at Harvard University. And to Radebe, it is “the affirmation of the faith many people had in me and it is a show of defiance towards my status quo of being a township teenager.”