The 2017 Firstrand Laurie Dippenaar and Firstrand Foundation Scholarships for Postgraduate International Study and Firstrand Oxford African Studies Scholarship Awarded

Five academically gifted South African students with excellent leadership qualities and the potential to be future destiny changers were each awarded R800  000 to pursue  postgraduate studies at the internationally recognised university of their choice in the FirstRand Laurie Dippenaar and FirstRand Foundation postgraduate scholarship awards this year. For the first time one student was also awarded a full scholarship in the FirstRand Oxford African Studies scholarship to complete a Masters at the African Studies Centre at Oxford University.
2017 is the 11th year that the prestigious FirstRand Laurie Dippenaar scholarships have been awarded.  The value of the scholarship was increased to R800 000 per year and over R4.8 million was awarded to six students.
FirstRand scholarships were awarded to six exceptional candidates.

Two FirstRand Laurie Dippenaar Scholarships worth R800 000 each

Aphiwe Jikazana, a chemical engineer and alumnus of Stellenbosch University.  She has identified the application of chemical engineering to water and water waste management as a crucial requirement for ameliorating the country’s long-term water supply issues. She will be reading for an MSc in Water and Wastewater Engineering at Cranfield University.
Teddy Mudge went to UCT and completed a Mechanical Engineering degree with honours.  Teddy has found an area that is ideally suited to him: medical device design that requires creativity, engineering skill and an understanding of the medical need.  He wishes to do a Masters in Medical Device Design and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London which is split between Biomedical Engineering and the MBA programme at Imperial College
Three FirstRand Foundation Scholarships worth R800 000 each
Tshepo Mosaka completed a Bachelor of Laws at Wits, graduating with distinction.  He then completed an LLM at UCT also with distinction.  He talks of “embarking on a long-term project to write an African customary law code of evidence and whether it is possible to adapt the English system of evidence based on empirical foundations to suit African customary law (which has supernatural foundations)”.  He will read for a DPhil at Nottingham University
Farai Mubaiwa completed her BCom (Accounting) at Stellenbosch with stellar grades and was elected to the SRC.  She then went on to do an Honours in Management Accounting. She now wants to complete a Masters in the Political Economy of Emerging Markets at King’s College London.  She wishes to become an academic.  She may well end up staying in the corporate space, which she is well suited to and could make a really significant impact.
Safa Naraghi holds a BSc Mechanical Engineering degree from UCT with very good marks.  While at UCT he participated in the South African Washington International Programme.  He is currently completing an MSc in Biomedical Engineering .His project involves the use of simple cell phone technology to detect early signs of TB.  He wishes to do an MSc at UCL in Entrepreneurship and Health-Related Engineering Design.

FirstRand Oxford African Studies scholarship

This is the first year that this scholarship has been awarded.

Keyan Jardine, completed both his BA in History and Philosophy and BA Honours in History (awarded with Honours) at Wits. He wants to work on gang cultures in South Africa, a field of history that could use further research.  He has been accepted to Oxford University to do a Masters in African Studies.

“The panel was again hugely impressed by the quality of all the applicants and, in particular, the last ten who were invited to be interviewed.  Any of the ten could have been a worthy recipient of the award.  Members of the panel were unanimous in their view that meeting and interviewing the finalists was an inspirational experience.  The panel regard themselves as fortunate to be exposed to such amazing talent,” said Laurie Dippenaar, chairman, FirstRand.

“Serving on this panel has been one of the most rewarding roles I've had the privilege of playing. The candidates have also been amongst the most extraordinarily capable and deserving bunch one could possibly hope to interview. The whole scholarship initiative ranks right up there with the more meaningful impacts FirstRand has had on society.” Pat Goss, FirstRand non-executive board member and judge on the final FirstRand scholarship panel.

"We are delighted to welcome Keyan Jardine, the inaugural FirstRand Oxford African Studies Scholar, thus extending a long tradition of training South Africans who return home after studying with us to play vital roles back home." Jonny Steinberg, Professor of African Studies, Oxford University.

As a result of the growing awareness of these leading scholarships, 203 qualifying applications were received in 2017. Applications were received from graduates from all of the major academic universities.

“I would once again like to thank all South African universities for promoting this scholarship among their outstanding postgraduate students. The final adjudication panel was again hugely impressed by the quality of all the applicants and, in particular, the final 10 who were invited for interviews,” said Beth van Heerden, FirstRand CSI Executive.

Applications for the 2018 FirstRand scholarship for postgraduate international study will open mid-December 2017 and close on Thursday 22 February 2018.

Details and the application form will be available on the FirstRand website, from end November 2017.


The following factors are taken into account in the awarding of the scholarship:

  • academic excellence;
  • leadership abilities;
  • community involvement;
  • potential to be a destiny changer;
  • preference is given to applicants under the age of 35; and
  • first-time overseas study.

A preliminary evaluation process was followed with at least three people evaluating each application.  The preliminary judging panel of 26 members consisted of representatives from FirstRand, RMB, FNB, Tshikululu Social Investments and prior scholarship recipients.  A list of 39 applicants (long list) was selected and interviewed either in person or telephonically by Beth van Heerden, Jonathan Stilwell, Adrian Arnott and Professor Shireen Hassim from Wits University.  A short list of 10 candidates was selected for the final interviews for the FirstRand Laurie Dippenaar scholarship.
The 2017 final adjudication panel was:

  • Laurie Dippenaar;
  • Estelle Dippenaar;
  • Pat Goss;
  • Mamokgethi Phakeng;
  • Clare Digby and
  • Francois Hugo.

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Date published: 
Thursday, 29 June, 2017
FirstRand Foundation

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