South Africa’s potential future created by top scholarship learners

The Ruta Sechaba Foundation invests in the brightest learners


South Africa, 29 August 2023 – The RutaSechaba Foundation (RSF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering South Africa’s brightest young minds, has unveiled an extraordinary vision of South Africa’s potential future created by their top scholarship learners.

Using AI technology, learners were encouraged to envisage and artistically represent their ideal South Africa using iconic landmarks across the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The resulting visuals are testament to the boundless potential of young minds when adequately nurtured and supported.

What happens when you invite a star matriculant from Johannesburg to re-imagine his city using Artificial Intelligence (AI)? For aspiring tech entrepreneur Katlego Bogashu from Kempton Park, it was the chance to create a bold and inviting Afro-futuristic design vision for the city he calls home.

Bogashu’s vision for Johannesburg is one of safe, green, and boldly futuristic public spaces lined with canals and trees, where the residents of the city can stroll together, breathing in clean air. He imagines a city focused on cleanliness, embracing high-end technology and world class service delivery. 

Dashayin Gilbert is a Ruta Sechaba Foundation (RSF) scholarship holder and was head boy of Curro Durbanville in 2022, where he achieved a 89,42% average and seven distinctions in matric. He aspires to be a motorsport aerodynamicist and has been accepted into a university course in England which could set him on the path to becoming a real F1 engineer. 

“My motorsport career goal is to make F1 predictable. I want to design the most dominant cars in F1 history, alongside which I would like to develop my existing aerodynamic research toward reducing energy demands and carbon emissions of road cars through aerodynamic concepts.”

For star scholarship learner Onwabile Ndlebe, who is maintaining an A average in matric at Curro Heritage House in Morningside, Durban, the dream is to serve a South Africa of freedom, opportunity and hope. It is this vision of a rainbow nation repaired that shaped the aspiring diplomat’s bold, futuristic vision of her hometown, with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Ndlebe’s futuristic Durban is a prosperous place of pristine beauty, with sustainable and open public spaces, where citizens can enjoy a safe, healthy and peaceful lifestyle. 

“When I am a diplomat, I will ensure that South Africa becomes the land that was once promised to us. The land of opportunity and hope – a rainbow nation. I wish for freedom. Freedom for women walking home on the streets. Freedom for children who fear a raised hand. Freedom for families who go hungry for several days,” she says. 

“Empowering our learners to imagine their country’s future and bring it to life in such a tangible, thought-provoking way is a clear demonstration of the success of our ‘investing in potential’ manifesto,” says Natasha Mkhize, Executive: Strategic Relations at the Ruta Sechaba Foundation.

This project is a powerful reminder that our youth have the capability and the drive to shape the world positively. “Who says it can’t be? These are the vivid imaginings of our brightest minds, and their creations have the power to make you stop and think. This initiative underscores the importance of not just providing access to education, but also the right support and resources to help learners unlock their potential.”

The ‘investing in potential’ viewpoint rests on the foundation’s belief in the transformative power of potential and the foundation views the potential of young people as an immense force, ready to be harnessed. To maximise this potential, Ruta Sechabaprovides not only educational resources and opportunities but also a holistic support programme that empower learners to make a significant impact and go on to achieve great feats beyond school.

“Access to education is just the beginning. By investing in potential, we can provide the right support and resources learners need to succeed in academics and sports. We are dedicated to empowering young people to reach their full potential, in turn, building future leaders, innovators, and changemakers who will drive progress in our communities and the world.”

The foundation has supported over 515 learners across the 66 Curro high schools in 2022 and provided scholarships to academically and athletically gifted learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. The foundation’s impact is measurable: over 90% of Grade 12 learners received university exemption, with over 100 learners completing Grade 12.

“Our commitment to equalising access to quality education cannot be overstated,” says Mkhize. “We are acutely aware of young people between the ages of 15 and 34, who are not in education or employment, are a constant reminder of the importance of our work.”

By prioritising the Sustainable Development Goal of Quality Education, Ruta Sechaba’s approach to education will create an impactful pathway that directly addresses significant global issues such as poverty, climate change, and inequality.

The scholarships are available for Grades 8 to 11 from other schools or to learners who are already attending Curro-managed schools but cannot continue due to financial hardship.

Spokesperson: Natasha Mkhize

Natasha Mkhize, Executive for Strategic Relations for Curro Holdings and the Ruta Sechaba Foundation (RSF), is a champion of education in South Africa.

Guided by her passion to nurture bright young minds, Mkhize’s work focuses on securing scholarships and cultivating future leaders. Her vision for the RSF aims to unlock educational access for many bright learners, promoting positive educational outcomes for South Africa’s future leaders.

Mkhize fosters collaboration between NGOs like the RSF and the private sector to bridge the gap between untapped talent and quality education. This partnership aims to shape future leaders, improve communities, and build a brighter future for the nation.

Mkhize embodies the intersection of passion, intellect, and leadership. Her work with the foundation instils hope, aspirations, and positive change, resulting in a future filled with optimism. The selection of the brightest students symbolizes a promise for South Africa the generation that will create positive impact for the country’s future.

5 October 2023
Ruta Sechaba Team