A University of Botswana Engineering student, Ngwenya Tinashe, 24, from Oodi Village in the Kgatleng District has won the 2020 Rhodes Scholarship worth more than P3 million. The scholarship funds some of the world’s finest minds to read for a graduate programme at the world’s top university - the University of Oxford.
Tinashe whose specialty is Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is set to graduate from the University of Botswana with first class this November. He will then proceed to the University of Oxford for his graduate studies next year (2021) where he intends to pursue studies in Future Propulsion and Power.
“I am pleased to report to you that the 2020 Rhodes Scholarship was on Saturday won by a UB Engineering student, Mr. Ngwenya Tinashe”, announced Professor Thapelo Otlogetswe this week. Professor Otlogetswe was part of the selection panel that conducted online interviews through Zoom given travel restrictions due to COVID-19. Otherwise finalists are normally flown to Johannesburg, South Africa for the interviews.
Professor Otlogetswe said as an undergraduate student, Tinashe was a high performer, having been an exchange student at Miami University of Ohio in the United States of America “where he excelled most impressively”. He was also an exchange student at the Central University of Technology in South Africa where he attained a professional license of Certified SolidWorks Associate in Mechanical Design. Further, Tinashe was part of the University team that built the electric car prototype.
Professor Otlogetswe described Tinashe as a humble God-loving young man who was a youth leader at his church in Gaborone. “Tinashe is a source of pride for not just his family, but also to the University of Botswana and a living hope for our country. I am very proud of him and wish him all the best in his studies,” he added.
Professor Otlogetswe further commended Tinashe’s lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Professor Edward Dintwa for “producing world-class graduates”. That is because in 2018, the Rhodes Scholarship was won by another UB Engineering student, Miss Dineo Mya Serame, who has just completed a year as a graduate student at Oxford.
Meanwhile, Professor Otlogetswe’s five-year term representing Botswana as a board member of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Panel for BLMNS (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), came to an end on October 17,2020. Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Justice Unity Dow, will replace him beginning 2021. “Now that my time is done on the board, I will devote the next few years to promoting the scholarship at UB, BIUST and BUAN so that I can help some of the nation’s best minds get to Oxford,” observed Professor Otlogetswe.