The Cape Town Fellowship Program took a cohort of 20 purpose-driven creative rebels and change agents from around the world on a week-long adventure to explore social change, systems thinking, creative interventions and all things sustainability.

Many of our past fellowship participants activated their creativity and their networks to get to the UnSchool by way of crowd-funding and employer sponsorships. When there's a will, there's a way – so don't let the tuition cost deter you from applying. With our commitment to being accessible, we also offer scholarships to local applicants on a case-by-case basis. The scholarship funds go quickly so make sure to apply quickly! 



Popping up all around the world, our fellowship programs offer unique and intense learning experiences. If you join us as a fellow, you'll embark on a series of unforgettable adventures with a group of like-minded, whip-smart people. Top that off with excellent cerebral stimulation and the discovery of game-changing skills for active participation and social change making.

AND, of course, you'll get to meet and hang out with amazing mentors from a variety of fields as they share their secrets to success. Yep, that's what happens at the UnSchool fellowship, and it's as amazing as it sounds!

Cape Town, South Africa (photo: Ken Treloar,

Cape Town, South Africa (photo: Ken Treloar,



We start out in a common meeting spot and from there, you will be taken on a whirlwind journey full of discovery and brain-expanding adventures. We curate each fellowship to highlight the location we have chosen, and seek out the best and brightest examples of like-minded businesses, organizations, fellow change-makers and institutions to expose you new ideas and approaches. In between adventures, mentor sessions and meals, we pack your brain with the Disruptive Design Method for up-skilling your toolset for activating positive social change.

About the program mentors

Jeremy McKane, San Francisco mentor, giving the fellows a hand during the 24hr challenge.

Jeremy McKane, San Francisco mentor, giving the fellows a hand during the 24hr challenge.

During the week, you will engage in mentor sessions led by industry experts, thought leaders and experienced practitioners who are invited to share their knowledge and experiences in creating change with you.

We've had futurists, an astronaut (!), award winning designers, social entrepreneurs, strategists and innovators, all at the top of their fields.

This is an invaluable opportunity to engage with some of the most engaging and exciting humans in the world, all hyper-active in implementing game changing projects.



Emile Jansen

Emile Jansen, aka Emile YX?, started as a B-boy and later was a founding member of the legendary South African Hip Hop Group, Black Noise. Through his Heal the Hood initiative, which has been running since 1998, Emile has been able to utilize break-dancing and hip hop to empower youngsters from the Cape Flats, an area with a rich struggle history as most of the families involved in forced removals during the Apartheid era were relocated here. 

Emile also created some of the longest running South African Hip Hop events, namely ‘African Battle Cry’ and ‘African Hip Hop Indaba’ which have been on the go since 1996 and 1997. Releasing eleven albums with Black Noise, ten solo albums as Emile YX?, four books, five plays, two documentaries and a Hip Hop School, Emile is considered to be one of the Godfathers of South African Hip-Hop. 

Emile has spoken at Universities all over the world about his passion for healing through Hip Hop and the initiatives he has created. He is currently teaching at the Stanford University’s Centre for Diversity in San Francisco.



Bernelle Verster

A self-proclaimed shit-stirrer, Bernelle Verster is passionate about sanitation and is dedicated to developing waterless sanitation for everyone. Bernelle studied Biochemistry and Chemistry and obtained her Masters in Functional Genomics. Having completed her PhD, the rebellious Bioprocessing Engineer is pushing boundaries in developing wastewater treatment solutions feeding into an economically-competitive integrated water and nutrients strategy.

Improving awareness around wastes, water and wastewater is a cause Bernelle has committed to, alongside her role at the Future Water Institute. Here she “plays in the interfaces” and crosses the divide between the public and science, analysing lived experiences to contribute to her research.

Bernelle is involved with many initiatives and passion projects, including Dream Zandvlei; bringing awareness to catchments and environments through adventure and sport. Aquasavvy, a water sensitive campaign, is another initiative she is active in, through which academic research is interpreted into action at various levels, including catchments and neighbourhoods.”



Vuyisa Qabaka

Vuyisa Qabaka is the founding partner at venture builder, Entrepreneur Traction, and a founding company director at equity crowdfunding platform, Uprise Africa. He is a startup advisor and angel investor into early-stage startups within fintech, traveltech, e-commerce and agriculture startups in Africa. Having recently been voted as one of the people to follow in the South Africa tech ecosystem in 2018, Vuyisa has traveled extensively to various startup ecosystems globally and his contribution to the South African tech ecosystem through various initiatives which includes the SA Business Angels Network (SABAN); Africa's oldest tech hub, The Bandwidth Barn; tech advocacy initiative,  SiMODiSA; and mentorship initiative, 10x Mindset.

Although professionally involved in advancing the technology ecosystem in Africa, Vuyisa also has a passion for broadening economic inclusion and social impact through initiatives such as Learning In Reach, which is building early childhood centres in disadvantage communities; Purple Cow Ventures, which is driving economic inclusion for people with disabilities; and Kasi Economics, which is advocating for economic access for poor communities. Vuyisa is a regular contributor in the public discourse through television, social media and print media, such as South Africa's biggest English language business publication - the Business Report, were he is a regular contributor and freelance columnist.



Naadiya Moosaje

Naadiya is a serial social entrepreneur by passion, a civil engineer by training, and is Co-Founder at WomHub, an innovative company creating gender parity through education and technology. She is the co-founder of WomEng, a social enterprise, which she has grown across multiple countries tackling gender parity all along the engineering skills pipeline and recognized as the top TVET program in Africa by the African Union. Naadiya holds a BSc Civil Engineering and MSc Engineering degrees. 

She serves as a Board Director at Pegasys Consulting and the MMI foundation, owns a popular restaurant and is an emeritus board director for the International Youth Foundation. Naadiya has a variety of experiences from technical engineering, leadership development, management consulting, ed-tech and entrepreneurship.

Naadiya is a Global Future Council Member with the World Economic Forum covering Gender, Education and the Future of Work and in 2014 was named as one of the “Top 20 Young Power Women in Africa” by Forbes Magazine. Most recently she was awarded a special honour at the BRICS Summit by the Government of China for her work in girl’s education.  She is passionate about fostering developing & mentoring the next generation of leaders and engineering better societies.


Sihle Tshabalala

Sihle, co-founder and CEO Quirky 30 NPC and Quirky Innovations PTY/LTD, is an ex-offender. During his time in prison, he became a key member of the Group of Hope programme (a prisoner initiated project that changed prison rehabilitation in SA) , where he decided to spend his life helping others avoid the mistakes he had made.

Since leaving prison, he co-founded Brothers for All, taught himself how to code and has become a key voice in his community and a game changer in teaching high school drop outs, teenage moms, unemployed youth, ex-offenders and offenders Computer Programming/Coding, Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing.

Shile has spoken widely on TV and radio, presented at the Durban AIDS conference, was awarded the 2014 LeadSA’s Hero, Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans award, 2015 Spark Changemaker award, 2016 WSA International Speaker, Juror and Mentor, 2016 TEDx Fellow and a Levi’s Pioneer Nation speaker.


Zayaan Kahn

Zayaan attributes her work to curiosity, exploring and enquiring within her habitat, the city as a strange natural system/s. She works towards articulating food sovereignty, encouraging cultural change. Local urban and ecological environments and their interchangeable relationship intrigue Zayaan. Through curiosity, research, experimentation and engagement, her work has found a resting place through food as a means of understanding the world, land and our collective heritage. Zayaan works as an artist, consultant, food transformer, ceramicist, writer and a researcher working from a socio-political platform to understand truer meanings of transformation and expressing solutions through the ways in which we consume, from food to medicine, art, cosmetic or household consumables.

She previously coordinated the Slow Food Youth Network South Africa, a network of young people working to change the food system towards one that is good, clean and fair, and co-created The Apocalypse Pantry, a Survivors Guide to Happiness in the Urban Armageddon. Zayaan is currently focusing on building the Seed Biblioteek, a seed library highlighting the story of seed. She is also completing her Masters in the Environmental Humanities South at UCT, an interdisciplinary research cluster, focusing her research on seeds.


Mokena Makeka

Mokena Makeka is one the 40 cultural leaders of WEF17, Davos/Klosters alongside such luminaries as Shakira and Forest Whitaker, recognised for speaking truth to power and seeking to change the world for better. A sought-after speaker and thought leader on African cities, design, social and spatial practices, and demographic change. He is the founder and owner of Makeka Design Lab cc, an internationally recognised design practice founded in 2002 that deploys innovative design solutions at the urban, architectural, cultural and installation scale. He is a Desmond Tutu, Oxford fellow in leadership, an Aliko Dangote Fellow, and is Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.

Amongst various architecture and urban design awards and recognition in design competitions, career highlights include being selected as one of the Ordos 100 architects by Hertzog & De Meuron and Ai Wei Wei. Makeka is the inaugural winner of the Gold Loerie Award for Communication Design (in Architecture) 2011, and the youngest recipient and two-time winner of the Award of Merit from the Cape Institute for Architecture. He has been named by the South African National City Press, as one of the top 100 World class South Africans, 2013.



Leyla Acaroglu - DIGITAL ONLY

Sustainability provocateur Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As an award winning designer, sociologist, and entrepreneur, she developed the Disruptive Design Method and designs cerebrally activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help people make the status quo obsolete.

Her mainstage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a 1.2 million times, and she leads presentations around the world on activating positive social change through creative interventions.  

As a designer, her works such as Design Play Cards, Game Changer Game, Secret Life of Things, Designercise, and the AIGA Gender Equity Toolkit, are at the forefront of activated experience design. She has authored several handbooks for change makers and continues to agitate for new ways of solving complex social problems through beautifully designed interventions. Leyla’s creative work is highly acclaimed, being featured in a permanent exhibition in the Leonardo di Vinci museum in Milan and earning commissions from the National Gallery of Victoria.  Leyla was named Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program in 2016. 

Leyla will be mentoring the program from afar, as a digital mentor pre and post program.




With the UnSchool focus on sustainability and brain-building, all our programs are plant-based and strive to be as waste free as possible.

Three beautiful, brain-feeding, delicious and bountiful meals a day are provided, and we are big on in-between snacks.

Constant, regular, delicious snacks to keep you fuelled up and energetic! And, there is also always a pancake breakfast, because... pancakes.


Developed with an organisation local to the host city, we run a 24hr real-world design challenge for our fellows to apply the Disruptive Design Method to a social or environmental issue. 

Mentors and lead educators are on hand to help throughout, and when the 24 hours are up, the teams pitch their ideas to a panel of mentor and client representative judges. This high pressure environment challenges the fellows to collaboratively apply what they have learned in solving a common quest.

Want to learn more about the UnSchool Fellowships? Check the link below for all the details!

The fellowship in Christchurch, New Zealand

The fellowship in Christchurch, New Zealand


The fellowship program is relevant for any industry and professional background.

Our growing community of 100+ people comes from 28 countries. The only requirement is that you have a burning passion and desire to actively participate in leading positive change!

What's on the menu?

  • A 7 day immersive learning adventure jam-packed with activities, classes, events, workshops and tours

  • Pre-fellowship preparation courses at our online school so you arrive ready to go!

  • Each day is a full 12 hours of activation oriented experiences (put all your emails on hold!)

  • Group and one on one mentorship with industry leaders (we've had astronauts and futurists in previous programs!)

  • Meet a super diverse group of people who want to change the world just as much as you

  • 3 sustainable, colourful, delicious plant based meals a day (most days, 2 are free nights to explore!)

  • After the fellowship, you become part of our growing alumni group of activated change agents from 20 countries around the world. This gives you access to our mentors, and alumni only opportunities such as hosting programs, apprenticeships and many other exciting leadership opportunities

scholarships and payment plans

As part of our effort to make our programs equitable, we offer both scholarships and payment plans. Once our selection is made, we offer a limited number of scholarships, which are awarded based on demonstrated need.

Since we started our immersive programs in 2015, we have given +40 recipients over $120K of scholarships to our programs. Fill in the appropriate spot on the application to register your interest.

Tuition is $2500USD, available in payment plans to all fellows granted a place in the program.



Take one of our courses in Systems Thinking, Sustainable Design, Circular Economy and more much more at our online school to get ready for the next level, and register your interest in an upcoming Fellowship.