Alice Wamundiya

Alice Wamundiya received the 2012 Inyathelo Award for Social Justice Philanthropy for promoting access to tertiary education for refugees in South Africa. 


Alice fled to South Africa after the Rwandan civil war in which nearly a million men, women and children were massacred in just a hundred days. She managed to find casual work as a car guard, dividing her meagre earnings between her family, her schooling and the refugee community in Cape Town. Frustrated by difficulties she and other asylum seekers faced when trying to access tertiary education in South Africa, Alice set up the non-profit organisation ‘Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students’. Over the past eight years, Alice has intervened on behalf of thousands of students struggling to get into higher education institutions and find funding for their studies.

Alice has been deeply involved and committed to the organisation on many different levels. She has worked tirelessly to facilitate career workshops in high schools and provide bursaries for refugee students. She even initiated a soup kitchen for impoverished students. Her contribution and multiple acts of philanthropy have been recognised both nationally and internationally. She was chosen for the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for African Students, placed on the Mail & Guardian 200 Young Influential South Africans list, and selected as an Oxfam International Youth Partner.

Alice is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Social Science at UCT and is writing a memoir chronicling her experience of the Rwandan genocide.