Grace Kim thankful for blessings

Grace Kim (23), a Matie student who completed her masters’ degree in English Literature recently, has become the first female student to be awarded the sought-after Rhodes Bursary from Paul Roos Gymnasium.

Grace Kim, the first female to be awarded the sought-after Rhodes bursary from Paul Roos Gymnasium. (Photo: Nic de Jager)

 The Rhodes Bursary, probably the most prestigious bursary in the world, is the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes and has been awarded annually since 1902 to 83 people across the world enabling them to study at Oxford University in the UK.

 In South Africa the bursary is awarded annually to ten students based on academic achievements and character. Four of the ten bursaries are awarded to the schools Paul Roos Gymnasium, SACS, St. Andrews and Bishops. Since 2004 Paul Roos have been including their neighbouring schools, Rhenish and Bloemhof School for Girls, when they decide on suitable candidates.

 Grace immigrated to South Africa with her parents, Rev Jae-Soo Kim and Ms Sun-Hi Kim, as a two year old from South Korea and grew up in Stellenbosch. She matriculated from Rhenish Girls’ High with seven distinctions and obtained both her BA and BA Hons cum laude.

 She will travel to Oxford, England in August 2011 where she will start with her DPhil in English Literature.

 “I am really looking forward to it. The bursary makes provision that I can use campus accommodation for the first year and after that you can decide whether you want to live privately or not.”

 She is very modest when asked about the secret of her success thus far. “The Lord has blessed me with lots of talents and one of them is the energy and passion for my studies.”

 “But”, she emphasises, “it is also important to me to maintain a balance. The bursary is not just for so-called bookworms, but also for people who really want to give back to the community. It is about using your studies in service of the community.”

 This is not just lip service. Up until her departure for the UK, she, together with her brother Paul Kim, will be working on EDGE Campus, an education initiative. This initiative consists of the development of a cellphone-based educational game that is aimed at presenting teaching in an interactive and entertaining way. The aim is to change learners’ attitude and reactions to education (see

  •  Two former SU students were the recipients of the bursary last year. Mari Rabie (23), a triathlon athlete, received her BComm (Actuarial Sciences) degree in 2009. Pieter Koornhof, also a Paul Roos recipient, is the third generation to receive the Rhodes bursary. He obtained his BAcc degree from SU in 2008 cum laude.