In 2020, Imagine Scholar alumna, Thenjiwe Ndimande returned to Imagine Scholar upon the completion of her degree to join our staff team as Associate Program Director. Her return marks the start of a long-awaited staff transition in which alumni will take over key leadership positions throughout Imagine Scholar, ensuring that our organization is run by the community it serves. Below is Thenjiwe’s reflection on her first year as a member of staff.

“When I first joined Imagine Scholar as a student almost 10 years ago I had big dreams and visions of changing the world! I would start by opening…

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, we released a statement surrounding our shift away from on-campus learning that students don’t come to Imagine Scholar, that they are Imagine Scholar. With the days of this year coming to a close, this sentiment could not have rung more true. I find myself taking stock of 2020 with a deep sense of gratitude for what Imagine Scholar really means, and what it has become.

Firstly, a sincere thank you to our Board of Directors, donors and advocates. This year has been incredibly difficult — difficult for big organizations, small nonprofits like…

25 October 2020 — Imagine Scholar’s unique perspective on progressive education pedagogy has garnered international interest.

In 2019, our organization was shortlisted for the Reimagine Education K12 Education Award. In the company of globally-leading education thought leaders, including but not limited to MIT’s Micro Masters program, PwC, and Imperial College London, Imagine Scholar was a three-time award winner at the “Oscar’s of education”, taking home the following prizes:

  1. The “Gold” award in the Arts & Humanities discipline
  2. The “Silver” award for best education programs in the African region, and
  3. The “Silver” award for most innovative K12 education program globally

10 July 2020 — Youth leadership incubator Imagine Scholar has joined a plethora of education-focused organizations as an official partner of the Humane Education Coalition (HEC).

HEC aims to mainstream humane education, a concept they describe as “a comprehensive and necessary methodology that equips learners with the tools to think critically and identify creative and impactful solutions to interconnected global challenges.” Partners of HEC are diverse organizations of varying sizes and organizational structures pioneering pro-social learning environments and promoting animal welfare and global sustainability.

Imagine Scholar acts to catalyze untapped human potential in challenging geographies for social change. Set in…

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Imagine Scholar has transitioned to a digital curriculum hosted via WhatsApp

On or offline, Imagine Scholar facilitators are always experimenting to design engaging spaces that foster creativity and connection among students. As we’ve embarked on a new journey of digital learning, here are some of our most successful prompts in sparking digital discussion:

1. Write a poem inspired by a famous photograph

This creative prompt should encourage students to dig deep and exercise vulnerability with their classmates in sharing a piece of personal writing.

Striking photographs can stir emotion. This kind of evocative art is fertile ground for allowing students to exercise creativity. …

Staying curious isn’t just for Imagine Scholar students. Our staff is always on the hunt for new experiences and opportunities to learn.

For everyone stuck at home during the lockdown, we’ve compiled a “best of” list of some of our favorite things to watch, eat, learn, listen to, and read to fend off boredom, and most importantly, to stay positive.

Check out our list to see what we’ve been up to. We hope it brings you joy!

To watch…

1. Night on Earth

Night on Earth is a beautiful Netflix original documentary that uncovers the nocturnal lives of creatures around the world.

Released: 20 March 2020

Please find enclosed a letter from our Executive Director, our official actions related to the management of COVID-19, and resources for South African citizens

An open letter from our Executive Director, Corey Johnson

Dear Imagine Scholar community,

It is with great concern and sympathy that we have watched the spread of COVID-19.

The South African government has been proactive in the prevention and containment of the virus and our community is unaffected at the time of writing. However, we are aware that inadequate health infrastructure and the high instance of immunocompromised individuals in our area are cause to react swiftly and with great care.


The innovative South African education program, Imagine Scholar has been awarded the following accolades at the international Wharton Business School — QS Reimagine Education Awards in London:

1. The “Gold” award in the Arts & Humanities discipline

2. The “Silver” award for best education programs in the African region, and

3. The “Silver” award for most innovative K12 education program globally

Imagine Scholar was awarded in three categories at the 2019 Reimagine Education Conference & Awards

Imagine Scholar received awards for every eligible category in the midst of the world’s most progressive and successful educational institutions including, but not limited to MIT’s MicroMasters program, Imperial College Business School, the Open University, and PwC. …

The Value of Addressing Aspirational Challenges in Education: Lessons from the Imagine Scholar Program

Imagine Scholar alumna, Tandzile

Author: Angus Elsby

Educational inequalities are one of the top global policy concerns, with the intergenerational consequences of regional educational disparities now beginning to be truly understood. In the more disadvantaged regions of countries across the world, a disproportionate amount of people reach adulthood with little education and have only managed to acquire skills that have little practical value. Evidence suggests that these people are likely to remain tied to their disadvantaged communities and will end up marrying those in a similar position to themselves. …

Could it be that we hallucinate our reality?

In his TEDTalk, Neuroscientist Anil Seth grapples with this question. He suggests that if the billions of neurons in our brains attach meaning to outside stimuli internally, each individual could (theoretically) experience the world differently. When we agree on our personal perceptions, we call it reality.

Following in Seth’s mental footsteps, we are the creators of our conscious experience.

You create your reality.

Seth goes on to remind us that this elevated sense of personal agency means that we sit in the driver’s seat of our experience. If we have the power to create and recreate our experiences, we not only have the autonomy to build lives we enjoy living, but also have a responsibility to craft and co-create healthful, fruitful lives all living beings.

Watch the talk:

Imagine Scholar

Catalyzing human potential.

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