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.”