Wilton Mkwayi International Fellows Program
Wilton Mkwayi, a founding member of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, died in July 2004.
As one of the anti-apartheid leaders in South Africa, who spent 25 years in prison with Nelson Mandela, Wilton committed his life to improving the lives of the disenfranchised and marginalized. That is an admirable goal that is too often over looked in today’s world.
The Board of Directors of CELD created the Wilton Mkwayi International Fellows Program to bring learners from rural areas of South Africa to the U.S. to study.
Bongani Dlamini was the first Wilton Mkwayi International Fellow, arriving at Garrett College in western Maryland in August 2005. He started as pre-engineering major at Garrett College and transferred to West Virginia University to enroll in their mining program in 2007. He will be receiving his BA degree with a double major in Mining Engineering and Geology in spring of 2010. He intends to go into the mining industry when he returns to South Africa.
Bongani was joined by the second Mkwayi Fellow, Unathi Mahlati in 2006. Unathi was enrolled in a pre-med program at Garrett College and transferred to Bucknell Univeristy to study neuro-biology. Unathi will receive her BA degree in May 2010.
The Coalition received its third Wilton Mkwayi International Fellow at Garrett College in August 2007. Her name is Andisiwe Sicwebu and she comes from Butterworth High School in the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. In May 2009 Andisiwe graduated from Garrett College. She competed for and received a full scholarship to Bucknell University and is enrolled in their Environmental Engineering program.
The Coalition is supporting a new Wilton Mkwayi International Fellow at Garrett College this year. Her name is Alice Abiya. She is from a small village, Douala, in Cameroon which is on the west coast of Africa.
As a young woman she attended a Nike sponsored basketball camp in her area. After participating in the camp for a couple of years she caught the eye of one of the instructors. This person represented a network of schools in the U.S. He recruiter Alice to play high-school basketball as a junior at St. Ann’s in Charlottesville, Virginia. She transferred her senior year to play at St. Francis Academy in Baltimore, Maryland. When she graduated from high school she was recruited to play basketball at Garrett College. CELD has partnered with the College and others in the community to support her while she attends Garrett College.
CELD supports the Mkwayi fellows by paying for their housing during their two years at Garrett College. The College has created a parallel Mkwayi fellowship which covers full tuition and fees for Mkwayi fellows. Additional support for Bongani and Unathi has come from their high school in Butterworth, South Africa — the teachers in the school made donations to help cover the costs of studying in the U.S. Additional funds come from the community at large, Bongani and Unathi’s extended families, and sponsors like the DeBeers mining company in South Africa.
This has been an exceptionally successful program for the South African learners, their fellow students at the College and for the greater Garrett County community. With your continued support we hope to see many more Wilton Mkwayi International Fellows studying at Garrett College in the future.