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Ruta Sechaba Foundation: Onwabile Ndlebe

Onwabile Ndlebe from Curro Heritage House is one of only three top Ruta Sechaba Foundation scholarship learners who were invited to use AI technology in creating extraordinary visions for South Africa’s future. She and her fellow chosen will dream and artistically represent their image of an ideal South Africa by using iconic landmarks in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Onwabile will herself focus on her home, Durban.

Read more about the Ruta Sechaba Foundation on this page of our website.


Here is the full article, as originally posted on the Daily Maverick website.

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).

Onwabile’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.

The foundation’s vision and support mean a great deal to Onwabile. She is acutely aware of the potential the foundation sees in her and the future she now has within her reach.

‘With this scholarship’s support, I aim to explore new horizons, engage in innovative research, and give back to the community that has shaped me. The weight of this honour is not lost on me, and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity to not only better my own life but also to contribute positively to society. I am beyond fortunate to be a recipient, and I will forever be indebted to the Ruta Sechaba Foundation for this life-changing opportunity. With every achievement, I will carry the spirit of my ancestors – of the oNdzabe, oGantsa, oDudumash clans – and the unwavering support of this scholarship, ensuring that I pay it forward by empowering others to pursue their dreams and aspirations.’

Onwabile plans to study a Bachelor of Laws, with International Relations and Political Science, in order to become a diplomat. ‘Becoming a diplomat has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. As a diplomat, I would have the opportunity to stand up for the voiceless, to defend human rights, and to promote peace and justice. I believe that diplomacy is a powerful tool for change, and I want to be a part of that change. I want to represent my country and work towards building bridges between nations and promoting understanding and cooperation. Being a diplomat is not just a job, it’s a calling.’

She is deeply inspired by her favourite lyrics from Michael Jackson, ‘if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change’.

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