Mamelang Memela

UWC attended: Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (Swaziland)
Class Year: Class of 2020

Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, diversity was always a part of our societal blueprint. A blueprint that is still being realised even today. During childhood, I attended schools that were caught in the structure of the old regime but were also trying to incorporate the concept of “the rainbow nation,” hence for the first several years of my education, I went to schools that were dominated by Hindu and Catholic culture respectively. This coupled with my relatively Pan-Africanist upbringing showed me that it was possible for people of different races and cultures to co-exist respectively for a brighter future. Thus now I have a deep respect and appreciation for difference which was nurtured and strengthened by my UWC experience. Another aspect of UWC I thoroughly enjoyed were the uncomfortably honest conversations we would engage in about class about race, war and history that allowed for us to understand each other’s perspectives and talk about possible solutions.

The environment presented by Lewis & Clark particularly stood out to me through its academics and extracurricular activities. And also the various programmes held where academic and boarding life meet to give you a holistic experience. This coupled with the city of Portland, which has many of the perks of an East coast city whilst located on the inner West Coast cemented my application to the school. During my time I hope to major in Environmental Studies as I would like to aid in the drawing up and implementation of minimising the environmental problems we are currently facing. Outside of the classroom, I hope to contribute and share a different perspective to various clubs and also write for the student newspaper.

During my spare time, I revel in reading journals about contemporary African art and the environment as well my favourite magazine called “1843.” I also enjoy following various blogs especially on tumblr which explore aesthetics, geography and photography. My biggest passion is reading about cities and towns, especially how they came to being the powerhouses they are today. Most of these are also things that translate into my academic interests which is a double win for me.

My parents always preferred us to travel within our continent in order for us to fully grasp its diversity and richness which is why the majority of my passport has many African stamps. I’m excited that the AU (African Union) is currently working on internal passports to make it easier for everyone to travel within the continent because I think it is really beautiful despite all that may be happening.

A lot of people may not know that although I’m quiet and seemingly introverted, when the right topic arises I do a complete 180.

At L&C, I hope to continue my growth and further broaden my horizons and become the best version of me I can be.