Buhle Zuma

Social psychology PhD candidate: University of Cape Town and St Andrews University

Buhle Zuma does not believe he can change the world, but he does believe he can help by understanding it. His yearning to learn about the world began when he learned to read and it is what drove him to escape a life of adversity and uncertainty, succeed in becoming a Mandela Rhodes Scholar and � through his research � emerge as a facilitator in developing a uniquely South African understanding of our society. Zuma's frustration with American theories applied to uniquely South African situations, as well as with problems blamed on race alone, inspired his current research � "informal segregation� in university residences. Framed by the events that took place at the University of the Free State, his research aims to understand the conditions that make it either possible or impossible for friendships to form across racial lines. It's a topic that hits close to home for Zuma, whose childhood background was a far cry from a leafy white middle-class institution such as UCT. But since childhood he has proved he is no ordinary young man. In addition to putting himself and his siblings through school through a multitude of jobs, Zuma found the time to start a library, support his mother's HIV/ Aids group and get involved with youth development programmes � all while he was at high school. Today he's no different. Beyond his PhD, Zuma is involved in developing educational resources that are sensitive to cultural diversity for pre-primary and primary- school learners. He was previously chair of the Mandela Rhodes Scholars Alumni body and is currently chairperson of the student division of the Psychological Society of South Africa.With a deep interest in helping talented young South Africans to realise their potential, Zuma lives by the belief that, whether through academia, research or social work, if he imparts what he learns and knows lovingly and creatively, the world will be the better for it. � Lu Larche

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