Siphelele Danisa did his undergraduate degree (BSc) in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town (2017-2019), after which he completed his second degree, Honours in Mathematics (2020). During the same year, he joined the ASRI Future Leaders’ Programme as a participant. He is currently pursuing a MSc in Applied Mathematics, at the same institution, while also taking up the role of a Research Intern at InstaDeep Ltd. While his research experience has focused on broad mathematical modelling and applied computing, Siphelele has intentions to use his technical skills together with the skills he obtained from the programme to make a difference in people’s lives.

The programme was very enlightening to me, especially having come from a background that was largely technical. It allowed me to gain a well-grounded understanding of my environment as well as the context in which we live. I benefited a lot from the lessons and discussions on, say, governance, regulation, economics, law as an instrument for the citizens, etc. Furthermore, the programme not only fostered natural relationships between the participating scholars, but also between the scholars and the guest speakers. These are connections that truly enabled more understanding and growth, because the participants in the cohort were willing to share their ideas and resources and so were the speakers–the latter even at times leaving their contact details for further questions and discussions. Personally, I found the programme to be remarkably inspiring. It gave me the language and skills to be able to join important conversations regarding the themes already mentioned and more. It also enabled (and encouraged) me to start thinking about the problems that we are facing as well as how my skills could best serve society in a more clear and nuanced sense. In the future, I see myself doing work whose main purpose is to serve society, but I am yet to fix specific problems that I would like to tackle.