Shamila Mpinga Oxford University

Shamila Mpinga (The Mandela Rhodes Foundation)

Former KZN township resident secures scholarship at Oxford University

Consider us inspired. The phenomenal journey or Shamila Mpinga has reached new heights, and she’s off to study at Oxford University.

Shamila Mpinga Oxford University

Shamila Mpinga (The Mandela Rhodes Foundation)

One of the most exceptional young minds in South Africa has defied the odds to land herself a place the most prestigious learning institution in the United Kingdom: Shamila Mpinga is heading to Oxford University after completing a programme of study in South Africa.

As IOL report, Mpinga grew up in Dambuza – a township on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. Her mother toiled as a domestic worker and would be away from home for long periods of time, meaning aunts and uncles would have to look after the would-be genius in the mom’s absence.

Shamil Mpinga is off to Oxford University

The bright student also revealed that she had “plenty of support” along the way, and included a heartwarming anecdote about a friend who always used to bring a lunch for her in Grade 8. However, that’s perhaps where the dependence ends for Mpinga, who says she worked cashier jobs voluntarily from when she was 12 years old.

Certainly, Mpinga asserted her independence in her studies. She developed an incredible thrist for knowledge and applied herself diligently throughout school and university. Her educational CV is something to behold, too.

Mpinga’s achievements so far:

  • Five distinctions at matric
  • Law degree (Cum Laude) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
  • Awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship after being declared one of the uni’s “top students”.
  • Studied for a Master’s in Mineral Law at the University of Cape Town
  • Awarded a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2017.
  • Gets her big break with another scholarship offer, to study for an MSc in law and finance as well as an MBA at Oxford University.

“It takes a village to raise a child” – Shamila Mpinga

Mpinga issued a rallying call after she received the news that Oxford wanted her. The 23-year-old paid tribute to all the people that helped her get to where she is today and called on citizens to “rise above” their circumstances.

“I have truly felt the effects of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. I’m the first person in my family to get a degree. I trust that my earning the Rhodes Scholarship provides hope for individuals with backgrounds similar to mine to push the boundaries, surpass expectations and to not be victims of circumstance.”

Shamila Mpinga

We’re wishing Dambuza’s finest all the best as this educational journey reaches new heights. One word of advice for you though, Shamila. If you’re heading to Oxford University, bring a coat: It’s bloody baltic there until April!