ALA Alumnus Kudzai Mbinda ’16 Named Rhodes Scholar-Elect

African Leadership Academy alumnus Kudzai Mbinda ’16 has been named Rhodes Scholar-Elect and will pursue a master’s degree in energy systems at the University of Oxford.  The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1903, is the world’s oldest, and considered one of its most prestigious.  

He is the second alumnus to be awarded a scholarship, following just 12 months after Beauclaire Mbanya ’14. Both studied chemical engineering at the University of Rochester. Kudzai is also a track star, holds the university’s 60-metre dash record and is a recipient of the athletic department’s Lysle ‘Spike’ Garnish Award. He is also a member of the Pan-African Association and competed in the Chem-E Car competition on the university team. 

“My big audacious goal in life is to run a business in the industrial sector in Zimbabwe that will employ thousands of people across multiple levels and disciplines. This goal will effectively utilize the resources we have in Zimbabwe to ensure self-sufficiency and create employment,” says Kudzai. 

Kudzai is fondly remembered for his time at ALA, where he was part of the Honor Council and Residential Assistant, the highest student leadership position. He competed at the Gauteng Athletics Championships in the 100m and 200m events and was chosen to attend the Notre Dame Summer Scholars program. He came to ALA as a recipient of an award from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education for attaining the best 2015 IGCSE results in Harare Province. 

After graduating from ALA, he interned twice for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at ALA’s pre-university orientation run by Suzanne Hunter, the director of scholar search and selection.  He showed excellent leadership skills, especially with helping other students settle into their tertiary education careers. During the remote learning period, he was instrumental in crafting a math curriculum for students interested in studying engineering. 

“At ALA, he embraced diversity and surrounded himself with peers from different religions, countries and beliefs to learn as much as possible about the African continent. He left an indelible mark on our community in his humility and quiet, yet firm leadership. He is a model of excellence for future students to come,” says Suzanne.  

Kudzai, who also took political science classes at Rochester, plans on returning to Zimbabwe after studying energy systems to help develop the industrial sector in his home country. 

“My fundamental reason to study energy systems stems from the shared experience of most Zimbabweans of not having a reliable source of energy or access to energy at all. I realized how energy is one of the most fundamental enablers and the fact that there are millions of people in the world without access to it is simply not right and something I want to be part of the solution to,” says Kudzai. 

He concludes: “The intersection of engineering, business, and social impact is what excites me and motivates me to pursue interests in all these sectors.” 

Kudzai and Beauclaire are the two latest examples of the strong relationship between ALA and the University of Rochester. To date, 81 ALA alumni have studied at the university in New York State, USA.