Samantha Malambo
Major: Economics and Africana Studies
Hometown: Nhlangano, Swaziland

Samantha Malambo '12

What is your most memorable course thus far?

I really enjoyed taking the “Seminar on South Africa” in the Africana Studies Department. Though I’ve had a lot of experience with South Africa growing up, I had never looked at it in an academic setting. This class, more than any other I have taken at Wellesley, opened my eyes to one of the places I have called home over the years. I enjoyed looking into its history and current socio-political situation. I also enjoyed researching for my presentation and final paper, something that had never happened before. I wrote one of the longest academic papers in my time at Wellesley—and had fun doing it. This class made me realize that I wanted to be an academic presence in the world of development in Southern Africa, however long it takes.

What’s your favorite Wellesley memory thus far?

Practicing for the annual show of the Wellesley African Students Association (Mamaland) with some of my best friends. I think we started preparing seriously for the show about two weeks before the scheduled date. As a result, our practices were often long and tiring, but we had so much fun preparing for what would be my last Mamaland! The night of the show itself, being on stage with most of the people who have coloured my Wellesley experience brought tears to my eyes. Needless to say, it’s a memory firmly etched in my heart.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Slater House. I love being able to go there, make food, hang out with friends, watch a movie, and just be at home. When I came as a first-year, little can describe the sadness I felt during Family and Friends Weekend, when my own parents were thousands of miles away in Swaziland. Slater provided me with a place to call home even though I was so far removed from my own.

Have you participated in a research, internship, or co-curricular experience?

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity of working in Ghana. I have grown up in Southern Africa (between Zambia, South Africa, and Swaziland), so I was really excited when I received the opportunity to work with an organisation in West Africa. Nothing can describe the pleasure I experienced in seeing such a different side of my continent. From the work I did, to the people I met, the food I ate, the clothes I had the opportunity to collect, Ghana firmly established itself as one of my favourite countries on the African continent. I was privileged to work with some of the brightest minds in the development world in Ghana through a project called the Ghana Innovation Marketplace. This project sought to find and finance the most innovative solutions to Ghana's solid waste management problem. I was both inspired and awed by the intellectual wealth one can find in a community seeking a solution. Not only did this cement my desire to work in development on the African continent (we're still working out the specifics), it also gave me a fifth home. 

What advice would you give a prospective student?

Take advantage of the resources Wellesley has to offer. In the time that I have been at Wellesley, I have had the opportunity to travel to South Africa to research with a professor, travel to Ghana for a Wintersession class, and travel back to Ghana for a summer internship. While receiving an education in America is definitely a worthy investment, Wellesley has further opened my borders and allowed me to learn from invaluable lessons through travel and dialogue in different countries, something I consider an invaluable resource.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I speak about nine languages fluently due to the fact that I have family and have been raised in different parts of Southern Africa.