By Katlego Nkosi
While most students are looking forward to winding down the academic year, Dagan Naeser is preparing to begin a new journey with the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary.
Naeser follows in the footsteps of the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Professor Sizwe Mabizela, who himself is a past beneficiary of the same bursary.
This year, 16 students from universities across South Africa have been awarded a three-week-long all-expenses paid educational tour. They start in Cape Town on 28 November and travel to the UK on 01 December, where the “Abes” will visit places such as the House of Parliament, Oxford, Cambridge, and Saint Andrews. They end their tour experience in Edinburgh on 19 December.
Prof Mabizela offered Naeser words of encouragement, saying: “On behalf of Rhodes University, I have the greatest honour of offering our warm and proudest congratulations to Dagan. I am absolutely certain he will enjoy it. It is a great privilege for him to be part of a young generation of leaders. This is a life-changing experience, and when he comes back, he should be able to make a great contribution to the betterment of society and humanity.”
Naeser is a Masters candidate in the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University with his thesis focusing on how media frames and reports conflict in Africa, using the insurgency in Cabo Delgado, Northern Mozambique, as a case study.
“My work involves a thematic analysis of the reporting by the Daily Maverick and The Guardian on the conflict looking specifically at how they frame the conflict and how they, in turn, frame solutions to be, and how they make those links,” he said.
His interest in current affairs, and an analytical eye that thoroughly engages and dissects political issues, led him to receive this prestigious award.
Naeser said the application process for the bursary was rigorous and thought-provoking.
“We discussed a range of topics from current affairs to what it means to be a South African,” he noted.
The Abe Bailey Bursary is focused on leadership development and is awarded to students who are academically strong and have shown exceptional qualities of leadership and service, with a good track record – not only on a campus level but also in a wider social context.
The bursary seeks to broaden the views of young South Africans through engaging with different individuals and environments. These sentiments are further echoed by Naeser, who stated, “A huge emphasis is engagement – engaging ideas and learning from one another. I think learning from within the group of people from across South Africa from all these different backgrounds will be extremely exciting. And then us all learning together as we travel the UK.”
Having never travelled outside South Africa, Naeser said he is excited about the opportunity to visit and meet prominent figures in the United Kingdom. “There’s a lot of history. I expect it to be enlightening and fulfilling and I cannot wait to represent my university and country in these lively discussions.”
This article was originally published by Rhodes Communications.