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A South African teenager from Umlazi is on his way to Harvard… and is inspiring us all.

Mfundo Radebe, an 18 year old Umlazi Teenager who despite the odds and challenges is proving nothing is impossible through education. He has just been accepted at Harvard University on a full scholarship.

His mother had him while she was in her matric year which meant she had to drop out of school to take care of him.

Mfundo grew up in a small home in Umlazi until his mother could no longer take care of him which meant he had to move in with his absent father’s family in Ndolindi, north of KwaZulu-Natal.

In just a short time, and suffering terrible abuse, Mfundo was forced to move back to Umlazi with relatives.

“Due to the abuse that I experienced there, I had to move back to Umlazi where I stayed with my grandparents.”

During his formative years, he moved schools quite often but worked tirelessly to be awarded the Michael and Susan Dell scholarship allowing Mfundo to attend Northwood School and attain a better education.

“I have always felt that if I want to get to the point where I can make a difference in South Africa, then I would need to always get the best education possible.”

Mfundo has his sights set on big things and spent his schooling career writing & motivating to various institutions to gain access to even better education.

“From Grade 9 at Northwood till I was in Grade 10 and was first in grade, I wrote letters constantly to the ADvTECH board, which owns Crawford Schools, seeking a full scholarship allowing me to attend Crawford as I simply could not afford the fees. I never gave up even though they always said no and I was eventually the first to be given a full compassionate scholarship to Crawford.”

He has pushed himself to great heights at Crawford.

Mfundo was able to become a national debate champion in just a few months after being exposed to debating. He was able to engage in politics on a national stage including speaking at the national Mandela Day gala sharing the stage with Minister Nathi Mthethwa. He was also invited to become the first ever national young social cohesion advocate.

“Just this year I won the title of international grand champion of the Magna Carta competition after the public speaking finals held in London. My essay on government and the Constitution had been selected as the best across Africa allowing me to travel to London.”

Mfundo’s story has just begun as has just been accepted at Harvard University on a full scholarship… we will follow his story as he leaves early next year to further his education.

“My greatest desire is that I will be able to share my story with South Africa about how we can be able to defy the status quo. If a young man from Umlazi can be able to achieve international acclaim, something society thinks he would never be capable of, then I know that there is great hope for South Africa.”

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The Good Things Guy
Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

12 Comments

  1. valentina

    December 15, 2015 at 10:23 am

    This is an awesome article! Very impressive, Im proud of this ambitious young man who is showing us all things are possible if we work hard and stay determined. Congratulations!

  2. Vinessa

    December 16, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Well done!! Hopefully you continue on this path and lead this country one day we need young people like you!!

  3. Nomusa Mavundla

    December 18, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Congratulation young man.I thank you for not allowing your circumstances to weigh you down,instead it made you stronger and focused.God bless you,continue to bring the best out of you.

  4. Hazel Sayer

    December 19, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Congratulations, Mfowethu! People like you are our country’s only hope. Shine on

  5. DAVID

    December 26, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    wish u the best mfundo

  6. Jennifer Moonilal

    January 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    You are an absolute star and role model for young people. My wish is that many young people will read your story and emulate you. Wishing you all the best for the future – with your perseverance and dedication you will go far on the journey of life.

    • A Taylor

      January 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      Congratulations well deserved. Milk Harvard for everything you can achieve academically and socially. It will be the foundation of your career.

  7. Angel

    January 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Congratulations. You’ve done SA proud. May God journey with you and keep your head up high. 👏👊

  8. Tebogo Selesanyeng

    March 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I am so proud of you Mr Radebe

  9. Denzil

    May 8, 2016 at 11:23 am

    An amazing role model for all South African children and a future leader who demonstrates that no matter how difficult the hurdles are you can still achieve your goals , dreams and aspirations . The mind is more powerful weapon for change

  10. Wenzile Dlamini

    May 24, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I am so happy that i met you at the African Renaissance Conference and had a chat with you even though it was a short time but i must say you that really made me realize that i too can do it. It is no doubt that with people like you growing up and aspiring to be leaders, South Africa is in safe hands.Wish you all the best of luck in all your endeavours.

  11. Musa

    January 11, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I am a proud south african bcz of people like u young man make us proud you and Sasasa Dlamini

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