Zac Abel selected as 2021 SACS and Partner Schools Rhodes Scholar Elect

Zac Abel

By Jaime Uranovsky

Zac Abel, 23, of Cape Town has recently been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for 2021 and plans to embark on his journey to Oxford in September next year, where he will be reading an MPhil in Economics.

After completing school at SACS in 2015, Zac obtained his undergraduate as well as his first-class honours degrees in economics at UCT, while simultaneously volunteering at the NSRI Bakoven Station. He is presently employed at the Boston Consulting Group which has taken him across Africa to gain experience. During his school career, Zac was also a skilled cyclist, cross country runner and oarsman.

The renowned scholarship, established in 1903, is awarded to 100 individuals around the world every year, with just a handful of those available to South African applicants. Zac was selected as the recipient for SACS and its Partner Schools.

On his initial reaction to hearing he had been selected as a Rhodes Scholar Elect, Zac says, “I was just overwhelmed, and I think fairly shocked. For it to happen, looking back, it was just the kind of sudden realisation of such a lifechanging experience knocking on the door”.

Once he has earned his master’s degree at Oxford, Zac hopes to return to the African continent and implement the skills he has learnt. He explains, “The big goal is to work on development in Africa. How exactly that happens and what shape and form that takes I’m not entirely sure of yet but I do have interests in health and green energy, and I think those are kind of things that I’d like to infuse the new knowledge with”.

Zac is the son of Raella Abel and Chris Purcell, and is the grandson of Myrna Nel and David Abel.

Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Download the Dec/Jan issue PDF here.

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