‘Braving a New World’

Masana Mulaudzi (SAWIP alumnus 2010)

On 30 September 2012, I dragged my two heavy cases across the pavement trying to hail a taxi. Armed with a backpack and a bit of fatigue, I braved the daring world that I was about to call home for a year. This would be my longest time away from South Africa, after my trip the USA with SAWIP in 2010. That is probably the moment it hit me, standing there in the street with no honks and hoots from the familiar minibuses that had characterized my existence in Cape Town – I was about become one of the estimated 8 million people in London eager to learn, to live, and to love.

Michael Currin (SAWIP Honorary Alumnus 2004), Masana Mulaudzi
(SAWIP Alumnus 2010) with the Chevening Scholars and H.E. Dr. Brewer.

I have been blessed to be able to study an MSc in Political Economy of Late Development at the London School of Economics. Earlier in 2012, I was successfully awarded a Chevening Scholarship, administered through the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, awarded to select students from across the world. This represents more than an opportunity to learn in classes graced by some of the world’s greatest intellectuals. It also presents an opening to exchange ideas with people from around the world, and to form lasting friendships with the leaders of tomorrow. Sitting in class and hearing views from Colombia, Japan, France, Zimbabwe, China, and the US has been exhilarating. But even more encouraging are the discussions over coffee with my peers from around the world; these confirm to me that many of us are more similar than we are different! And that we all desire to be more than just businessmen and women, or economists, or lecturers – we still desire to meaningfully contribute to progress for all in our world.

One highlight of the last six months, in particular, stands out: Brian and Sally Currin were in town and invited SAWIP alumni to get together. We shared a meal and the seasoned ‘Londoners’ disclosed to the new arrivals some tips for survival. It’s amazing that SAWIP is more than a professional network, it is a family. As we laughed over supper while sharing our experiences of London thus far, I felt a touch of home warm my heart.

SAWIP Alumni dinner: Masana Mulaudzi (SAWIP Alumnus 2010),
Michael Currin (SAWIP Honorary Alumnus 2004), Sally Currin (SAWIP
Volunteer),Brian Currin (SAWIP Board Member), Sibusiso Xaba
(SAWIP Alumnus 2010), Nicholas Crosby (SAWIP Alumnus 2009)
and Emma Margetts (SAWIP Alumnus 2009).

I know that the year will fly by rather quickly but I am excited to learn as much as possible, live as fully as I can, and share my passion for the continent with all I come across. I look forward to returning home in a year’s time as a better version of myself, ready to be of service to my country and her people.

Seeking ways to be the difference

Nomfundo Magudulela (SAWIP alumnus 2010)

Nomfundo Magudulela (SAWIP Alumnus 2010)

The education system in South Africa is in need of a drastic overhaul. The saddening statistics and disheartening state of affairs for many of our school-going youth really motivated me to find a way to change things. A year spent dedicated to understanding how education and learning works, to unpacking why and how education can assist in spurring development, and looking at different types of education systems the world over seemed like a good place to start. It is this quest for greater understanding that led to me enrol in a Masters course at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. I am currently here reading for an MPhil in Education with a specialisation in Politics, Development, and Democratic Education.

The first term has really flown by. Having spent just over a year and a half in the working world it has been a somewhat challenging (but exciting!) adjustment to get back into academic mode. When I am not admiring the magnificent churches and college building of Old Town, my days are filled with engaging other inquisitive individuals. We all seem to be chasing more: more knowledge, more ways of understanding the world, more ways in which we can change the world. I am excited to see what the next few months have in store for me here. But more importantly, I am excited to come back home and start being a part of the great future we are sure to see in South Africa!