Zikhona Ngumbela: Allan Gray Orbis Foundation experience

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The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation offers the exceptional Allan Gray Fellowship to Southern Africa’s pioneering bright young students. This initiative aims to develop students, known as Allan Gray Candidate-Fellows, into Southern Africa’s future high impact entrepreneurial leaders. Every year, the Foundation selects the best and most ambitious Grade 12 learners and first year university students from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland to join its vibrant community of Allan Gray Candidate-Fellows. The Fellowship includes comprehensive financial support alongside exposure to thought leaders, mentorship and entrepreneurial mind-set development. Access to postgraduate funding is available to those who have excelled in their tertiary studies and the Fellows Programme.

When the Foundation came to TSiBA to present their opportunity, I just knew this was for me. I applied and soon after that I was called for an interview. I wanted this so badly that I was not nervous at all during the interview. I went in and boldly shared with them what I was about and that felt good. After the interview, I was called to let me know that I had made it through to the next round of assessment - a selection camp in Johannesburg. I was so excited although I knew that I had not been selected yet. The camp lasted for 3 days which felt like 3 years. I had never in my life encountered such a thought provoking experience – it really pushed me to challenge myself. The Foundation wanted us to show the best of who we are. Often when someone refers to the “best”, I think it implies that I must be a perfect person. I then tend to adopt all the good things from other people and hope that this will make me perfect. The truth is that no one is perfect. We are just who we are. At the selection camp we had to be ourselves and be the best at that and we had to show what uniquely differentiates us from each other.

Although I did my best, I went home thinking that I didn’t make. Today, I am an Allan Gray Candidate-Fellow and I feel so proud of myself. When I will graduate I will become a Fellow for life. This community provides me with the support needed for my academic and personal development.

When the Foundation decided to host its quarterly Dialogue Session at TSiBA Education for the first time ever, it made me extremely proud of our institution. The Dialogue Session is an opportunity where speakers from industry come and address Candidate-Fellows about a particular topic – this one was about ethical leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s truly amazing and a privlege to be part of a community of students that care about this country and its future – I feel like I am part of something big. Being in the Fellowship challenges me daily and makes me feel like I am living my life to the fullest. One thing that has shifted for me is that I now feel more confident that I am able to make a significant contribution to the future of this country. I would like to urge all the BBA1 to apply for this opportunity and I look forward to being one of the first Allan Gray Fellows to graduate from TSiBA education.

Written by: Zikhona Ngumbela, TSiBA BBA2 student

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