Khotso Selialia grew up in Lesotho, a land-locked country in Africa. Lesotho experienced decades of tumultuous politics and nationwide poverty until the country funded modernization programs in the 1990’s. Lesotho is known as the highest dollar-per-carat producer of diamonds in the world. Along with increasing revenue, the government’s investment in the natural diamond industry boosted the economy and provides Lesotho’s citizens stable jobs and incomes.
From the playground to the classroom, Khotso’s natural leadership and desire to implement change inspired his career path and education. Khotso later decided to further his education and attend the National University of Lesotho to study computer science.
As he learned more about Africa and other continents, he discovered that Africa was significantly behind in regard to education and technology. This inspired Khotso to dedicate himself to help Africa by educating others and advancing their technology.
“I view Africa as the land of greater opportunities where a lot is yet to be carried out as far as technology is concerned,” Khotso said. “[Lesotho] has a number of lacking infrastructures and a lack in expertise in career fields, such as cybersecurity specialists and improperly designed traffic control technologies.”
After graduating from university and only working for a few months, Khotso knew that to help advance technology on the continent and in his own country, he needed to further his personal education. But he needed financial help in order to do so.
Diamonds Do Good’s mission, like Khotso’s, is supporting programs that help youth from natural diamond producing countries. Through the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), Diamonds Do Good provided the funds for Khotso’s advanced degree in computer science at the Carnegie-Mellon University in Rwanda.
MINDS, established in 2010 by former South African President Nelson Mandela, helps fund education for young African leaders from all over the continent. The idea is for the students to attend a school in a different country than they grew up in, have a better understanding of life throughout Africa, and to meet and network with other students from all over the continent.
MINDS envisions Africa working together to attain democracy, economic prosperity, social inclusiveness, and global responsibility.
By MINDS providing the opportunity for education, these students are advancing themselves in their career field, but they are also learning, through courses and curriculum provided by MINDS, the best ways to advance education, technology, and political governance across Africa. Giving the opportunity of education not only advances these student’s career paths but they are also learning how to advance Africa’s education, technology, and political governance. The courses and curriculum provided by MINDS help these students on an individual level and help Africa on a continental level.
They are also learning important cultural heritage about the continent. As these students graduate and travel back to their home countries, they advance in their careers, invest their knowledge into the youth and governments in their local communities, and have established relationships to share, help, and serve communities in other parts of Africa.
Khotso is finishing up his first year as a MINDS Scholar at the Carnegie-Mellon University in Rwanda. He is devoted to developing a virtual reality system that replicates real-life situations and scenarios for lessons in history, math, and sciences.
Without proper funding, teaching the youth can be incredibly difficult but through the support of MINDS and Diamonds Do Good, Khotso is well on his way to advancing the continent.