The exceptional year of Thabani Mtsi

Thabani Mtsi, master’s student in the Department of Civil Engineering, has had a big year in 2019. He started the year with his undergraduate thesis being named the best in South Africa by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering and has grown from strength to strength since then. He was involved in student leadership as the Cluster Convener for Wimbledon and as Rotaract Vice-President. He also served on the Institutional Transformation Committee, the TEDxStellenbosch Committee as Community Engagement and Learning Officer and on the LeadUS Initiative Committee. Involvement on these platforms earned him two Rector’s Awards for Excellence (for Excellence in Leadership and for Excellence in Service). Thabani also participated in Phase I of the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program hosted by Harvard Business School, where he completed 5 HarvardX online leadership courses.

When asked about what motivates him, he says: “I am a mere vessel. I am in constant pursuit to maximise my God-given faculties for usefulness and effectiveness. It is my life’s work to harmoniously develop all mental, physical and spiritual powers for the service of mankind. That is what I was called to do, that is my reason for being.”

Just a few weeks ago, Thabani was awarded a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, a highly competitive scholarship awarded to top scholars from all over the African continent. The purpose of the scholarship is to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa through its programmes. The Mandela Rhodes programmes will develop individual human skills across African society, to help the continent achieve success and prosperity, and full participation in the global world.

Thabani is currently at North Carolina State University doing a semester abroad and will be returning to Stellenbosch to complete the final year of his master’s in 2020.

Photo: Thabani Mtsi.