From humble beginnings in UMLAZI to HARVARD – and back!

Umlazi’s Harvard pride making good on promise to give back in SA.

GOOD NEWS: Mfundo Radebe will return to South Africa next month to launch Dlulisa Initiative to assist underprivileged learners.

Ever heard of the Dlulisa Initiative?

Mfundo Radebe, who made waves last year after being accepted into Harvard on a full scholarship, has returned to South Africa to launch an ambitious initiative to assist underprivileged learners throughout the country.

“The Dlulisa Initiative will truly make a big difference for South Africa,” says Radebe, speaking from his digs at the prestigious university.

“We already have significant commitments from private schools and companies to form those pivotal relationships that will allow the initiative to succeed. When I arrive in South Africa in May, the initiative will kick off and collections from the schools that have signed up will begin. We have also received several endorsements, including from Nobel Prize Laureate, Wole Soyinka,” he says.

Radebe was raised by his single mother in the small town of Umlazi, and faced great hardship in his younger years, but he refused to let these circumstances block his path. He worked hard at school, came top of his class and then began writing scores of letters to the ADvTECH Schools Division board letting them know that he was unable to afford a private school education, but desperately wanted a place at Crawford College La Lucia.

Last year, he graduated from Crawford after having become the first ever recipient of a full scholarship from the school, which is part of the JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa’s largest private education provider. The group spends more than R100 million each year to enable gifted students to receive the world-class education they might not otherwise be able to access.

Every year, Ivy League universities visit ADvTECH schools to scout for the brightest and most promising young learners, which last year saw Radebe being offered the opportunity of a lifetime.

Not content to focus on his own success and studies however, Radebe also spent his first year on foreign shores setting up the Dlulisa Initiative, forming partnerships and setting up organisational structures.

The strategy of the initiative is to partner with companies as well as private and more privileged schools, even those who are already passing on resources, to provide a consistent stream of resources to underprivileged schools.

“By doing so, we also seek to create a network of accountable South Africans who will be making a difference. We allow our schools to track the difference they have made and to write personal messages of support to recipients. This is important. We are building an international advocacy campaign that will take these messages of support and the growth of the system that we will see to then fundraise internationally for the initiative, to ensure that we can get every single South African child the books and resources they need,” says Radebe.

Asked about what led him to start the initiative, Radebe says: “Dlulisa is truly about the big picture of what we can do as a country.  When I was at home after my first semester at Harvard, I realised that many of my textbooks, study guides, and stationery packs were still in my cupboard. My friends told me the same of theirs.

For the full article: SA Good News