The Rhodes Scholarship awards 83 scholarships each year from several countries including South Africa. These scholarships are post-graduate awards to excelling students to be able to further their studies at the University of Oxford in England. The South African scholarship is awarded to individuals from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland who possess intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service. The scholarship caters to individuals who can be developed to become “outstanding leaders, motivated to esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim” and “to contribute to international understanding and peace”.
To be able to qualify for this South African scholarship, applicants must already have a first degree or on their last year of their first degree. They must also excel in their chosen course, meriting a first class or a very strong second class degree. Furthermore, they must also have lived permanently in and have resided for at least five years within the period of ten years preceding their application in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia or Swaziland. The applicant must also be at least 19 years old and not older than 25 years old on October 1 in the year after selection, unless they are medical students and medical doctors, by which the age limit is extended by three years.
The Rhodes Scholarship, considered the oldest and most prestigious international graduate program in the world, was established in 1903 by Cecil Rhodes. The scholarship has already produced several leaders excelling in their chosen fields, contributing to international debates and serving their countries to betterment. The scholarship gives opportunities to excelling students not only to achieve high merit in their academic careers but also to engage in several extracurricular activities offered in the university. Scholars are also given a chance to immerse themselves in different cultures by being able to meet different people from different countries with diverse backgrounds.