Shaheen Seedat

DPhil student: Oxford

Shaheen Seedat has already achieved more than most people could ever imagine. But he's still a young man with big dreams. The 21-year-old Wits graduate and all-round whizz kid won the university's chancellor's gold medal for most distinguished graduate of his year. He also won the postgraduate Nedbank and Old Mutual budget speech competition in 2010 and received a Goldman Sachs global leaders award. He has a bachelor of economic science from Wits and completed a double honours in economic science and mathematics in 2010. In October this year Seedat is off to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, to study for a DPhil in financial economics at Said Business School. Intimidating? Perhaps. But Seedat is modest about his achievements. "I never wanted to win awards,� he explains, "but just to make a positive contribution to other people.� The younger generation is particularly close to his heart, and his dream is to "see more kids gaining access to education�. He has already made an impressive start through his work with the Targeting Talent Programme (TTP): an education-based community project, under the auspices of the department of science and technology, aimed at providing opportunities and holistic support to talented high-school students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is also head of volunteerism at the Wits Student Equity and Talent Management Unit. Seedat is saddened by South Africa's inequalities: "A huge number of people don't have access to education and skills,� he says. A sound national economic policy is the key to transformation, he says. And he hopes to help shape just such a policy when he returns from Oxford. When he has time to relax Seedat makes for the cricket pitch. He was awarded national and provincial colours when he was a teenager and is still passionate about the game. Let's hope rain won't stop play while he's at Oxford.� Ngoako Matsha

Twitter: @sseedat