Mr Eusebius McKaiser (Emerging Old Rhodian Award)

Eusebius McKaiser was born in Grahamstown to a family of little means. He first enrolled at Rhodes University in 1997 to study towards a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Philosophy. An Honours and then a Masters in Philosophy, both with Distinction, followed prior to him being selected on a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. McKaiser is a political activist who is currently an associate political and social analyst at the Wits Centre for Ethics where he most recently participated in research that examined the relationship between civil society and the state in the policy arena, particularly in the light of the changing post-Polokwane political landscape.


As a political activist what matters to him is getting to grips with the social and political topics that impact on our lives, and making people sit up and take notice of this.  It is probably for this reason that in 2010 he was named among the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 South Africans to take to lunch.


His activism is something that defines his life and he writes widely in the local and international press and has a particular interest in questions of identity and their policy implications. His media contributions have appeared in the New York Times, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Sunday Independent, City Press, Newsweek International, BBC Focus on Africa, The New Republic, Financial Mail, and Destiny Man among others. He has also hosted a weekly politics and morality talk show on Talk Radio 702, the Talk at Nine Show and he presented on Interface on SABC3.


McKaiser is also an associate of the Centre for the Study of Democracy based at the University of Johannesburg where in the past he has been involved in political and social analysis, and policy research. His first book – provisionally entitled Confessions of a cultural schizophrenic – will be published soon. It reflects on his experience as part of the first intake of black learners at a previously whites-only high school in the Eastern Cape in the early 90s. He also contributed to Mbeki and After, edited by Daryl Glaser.


In his free time, he is a top international debate coach, MC and public speaker, having been both former National South African Debate Champion and the 2011 World Masters Debate Champion. He has also coached school learners, tertiary students and corporate executives on how to communicate effectively, think analytically and improve their public speaking in South Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Previously, he was an Associate at leading international management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company. He worked in areas ranging from climate change to organisation and operational efficiency studies in state-owned enterprises. He also helped to develop a firm perspective on global demand forecasts for certain commodities. He still regularly briefs corporate clients, including investment houses, on political risk assessments of the South African political environment.

McKaiser is community driven and provides a living example of victory over racism and homophobia. He is a strong advocate of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex community and educates the public about gay rights and the immorality if crimes committed against homosexuals. In this role he has returned to Rhodes as a speaker and will this year feature as one of the TEDxRhodesU speakers on the topic of “Africa Inspired”. He is both sensitive and responsive to the urgent need for rational and open discussion of HIV/Aids, sex, getting tested and the ethics of disclosing your status.