Lindiwe Mazibuko’s Harvard adventure takes off

2014-06-29 15:00

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Lindiwe Mazibuko will kick off her studies at Harvard University tomorrow with a class called “Grand Global Challenges”.

It will be presented by Professor Calestous Juma, a formidable authority in sustainable development who was named one of the most influential 100 Africans by New African magazine last year.

Mazibuko has moved into a small flat – equipped with a filter-coffee machine and bed linen from home – on the impeccably manicured Harvard campus, next to the Charles River in Boston.

“The apartment is furnished with the basics, enough for a year of study. Most importantly, it is equipped with a filter-coffee machine,” she told City Press.

She did take some keepsakes to remind her of home.

“I have brought with me all my baking utensils, some framed pictures and newspaper cuttings, my favourite bed linen, also my most treasured books,” said the 34-year-old former parliamentary leader of the DA.

Once dubbed the “tea girl” by Julius Malema, Mazibuko is taking being the “new girl” in her stride. “It is brilliant. Boston is a deeply cultural and historical city. The people are friendly and helpful. The weather is just great, too.”

A week into her stay at Harvard, she said she felt “good” about her decision to make the move.

Mazibuko quit South African politics to do a master’s degree in public administration.

Socialising is integral to student life. On Thursday Mazibuko watched the USA versus Germany World Cup game at Harvard Square’s Daedalus Pub, which is famous for crab cakes.

“I feel really good about my decision to come here. I’ve only been in Cambridge for a week and already I’m inspired by the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had. I’ve no doubt the next year of work will be pretty gruelling, but I am confident I’ve come to the right place at the right time.”

Harvard is known as the “billionaire university”. It has the highest number of alumni who are billionaires in the world.

Notable former students include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. It has about 20?000 students on an 85 hectare campus.

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