OSF-SA Open Society Foundation for Sout1h Africa 25 Years Commemorative Shweshwe Scholarships and Fellowships
#OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Scholarships2018-09-27T10:17:43+00:00

#OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Scholarships

OSF-SA invites eligible applicants to apply for the 2018 Commemorative Scholarships

The OSF-SA Commemorative Scholarships will be awarded through an open application process, to individuals under the age of 35 years who have shown a commitment to furthering the goals and values of an open society. Up to 15 full scholarships will be available for eligible candidates to pursue post-graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities under the theme:

“Advancing democracy, promoting constitutionalism, and empowering vulnerable and marginalised groups.”

Each scholarship provides tuition fees at a registered South African tertiary institution plus financial support to assist with the costs associated with full-time study.


For more information please contact scholarships@osfsa.org.za

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible for the #OpenSocietySA25 Scholarships:

  • Applicants must be South African/African permanent residents/African registered asylum seekers under the age of 35, and of colour
  • Applicants must have at least two years of practical experience working in civil society on issues relating to the promotion of social justice
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to human rights, social justice, and advancing constitutionalism in their careers
  • Applicants must be nominated and fiscally hosted (throughout the period of study) by a civil society organisation that is a current or former grantee of OSF-SA
  • The Scholarship Award is conditional on acceptance and admission into a registered South African tertiary institution of higher learning. Preference will be given to institutions in non-urban areas and those institutions considered to be ‘previously disadvantaged’
  • All applicants must utilise the award for post-graduate study in the 2019/2020 or 2020/2021 academic year/s
  • Family members and partners of OSF-SA Board and staff members are not eligible to apply
  • Close friends of OSF-SA Board and staff members may apply, but this will be subject to a rigorous conflict of interest check and verification by the convenor of the Selection panel (independent of the OSF-SA and OSF)
  • Note to all applicants: Payment and receipt of the Scholarship Award is conditional on written confirmation by the relevant tertiary institution and the host organisation of acceptance into the chosen field of study. The Scholarship Award is for full-time study in the 2019/2020 or 2020/2021 academic year only. Failure to register for/complete the full academic programme will result in the Scholarship award being forfeited. The host organisation will be required to monitor and report on the disbursement of the Scholarship Award

Fields of study

Applicants can pursue further studies in the following areas:

  • Law, Justice, and Governance
  • Sustainable Development and Natural Resource Management
  • Economic Rights, Justice and Empowerment of the Poor
  • Public Health and Inequality
  • Media Freedom and Expression
  • Land Policy;
  • Education and Inequality
  • Human Rights Advancement
  • Social Movements / Building Civil Society
  • Constitutionalising Foreign Policy
  • Political Economy

Application requirements

To apply for an #OpenSocietySA25 Scholarship, all applicants must submit the following materials and supporting documentation via the online application portal:

  • A personal statement of two pages, describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for applying. Applicants must discuss their current and previous human rights work, interest in and commitment to the human rights and social justice sector and field, and career goals
  • A description of the issue the applicant wishes to explore if their application is successful and why it is important for the promotion of an open society (800 words maximum)
  • Letter of nomination from a current or former OSF-SA grantee (host organisation) and statement of commitment to financially host the applicant for a period of 12 months and administer the scholarship (tuition and stipend, with no overhead cost)
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional referees (that is not a family member/friend/staff  or Board Member of OSF-SA) that speak to the applicant’s prior work and future potential as a social justice advocate, scholar, and/or practitioner. Applicants may be asked to submit a further letter of reference should the Selection panel deem it necessary
  • A two-page abridged CV
  • A short biographical statement
  • One high-resolution (file size at least 2MB) colour photo (head shot)

The host organisation

The host organisation must be a current or former OSF-SA grantee in good standing. Furthermore, one or more staff members at the host organisation will be responsible for overseeing the award (fiscally). The host organisation will also be responsible for administering the scholarship and study stipend and will be required to manage the award funds according to OSF-SA’s grant-making rules/requirements.

For more information about who we fund, please visit our grantee directory and annual reports pages.

Application timelines

  • 21 September 2018: Application deadline
  • September 2018: Selection panel reviews all applications and shortlisted applicants notified
  • October 2018: Interviews with shortlisted applicants/successful applicants notified
  • 30 November 2018: Successful applicants will be publicly announced at OSF-SA’s #OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Lecture

Selection panel

  • OSF-SA Board and Staff members will not be involved in the decision/selection process
  • Former Constitutional Court judge, Justice Bess Nkabinde, will chair the Selection panel and process. The Selection panel will include OSF staff that are not based in South Africa

Additional obligations of #OpenSocietySA25 scholars

In addition to successfully completing their chosen degree, Scholars will also be required to:

  • Attend and participate in the #OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Lecture and Grantee Showcase on 30 November 2018
  • Submit written reflections (800 – 1500 words) that probe issues relating to their field of study. These will be showcased on the OSF-SA website
  • Avail themselves to participate in OSF-SA/OSF events and roundtables, and be interviewed for a scholarship/fellowship publication/short film