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  • Writer's pictureChloe Lewis

Meet our mentoring pairs: Matipa and Sukai

Matipa and Sukai are a second year mentoring pair, who started working together from 2021-22. Matipa is a PhD Researcher at the University of Cambridge, and Sukai is a 2nd Year undergraduate student at the University of Kent.

A few months ago, we caught up with them to talk all things mentoring, and how they're progressing.

Words by Amara Agwo


“Success is very subjective. I have a holistic understanding of it, and don’t just want to focus on external versions of success.” Maptia explains, as I talk with her and her mentee, Sukai. Sukai and Matipa are a bold and ambitious mentoring pair. From the outset of their time working together, they've focused on what success looks like in all aspects of life, from university essay writing to financial literacy. As a young Black woman, Matipa wants to do everything possible to support Sukai in these goals: “I want to see Sukai smashing it in all areas. I just want her to excel.”

As our first undergraduate university pair, these two are leading the way in terms of what a different effective mentoring can make at the start of your higher education career. This year, Sukai was focused on achieving the top grades in university, which is something her mentor - with all her experience in academia - was able to help her realise. But she also wants to grow in her personal life, through taking the time to reflect and journal.

This is a match well made, with two women of drive who motivate one another to achieve all they can: “I often ask myself ‘What would Matipa do?’” Sukai shares. “You’re killing it, and that’s how I want to be!”

Through mentoring, Sukai has learnt the importance of consistency, and keeping momentum. These are characteristics she admires in her mentor, and strives to emulate. Sukai and her mentor are able to “understand each other and bounce off each other's energy.” They have a friendly dynamic, and are full of respect for one another.

Sukai and Matipa are an excellent demonstration of the mutuality of the mentoring relationship - which is core to the Catalyst model. When we asked Matipa to reflect on what she was gaining and learning from Matipa, she didn't know where to begin: "Sukai has such vision, precision, strength and fearlessness.” She notes that her mentee is not held back by her age. “It's great to see someone doing what they know they can do.”

And Sukai has big aspirations. In the future, she may like to run an NGO, and be involved in activism. As she works towards this, she has started her own organisation called ‘Talking Colours,’ which aims to help young People of Colour who have been affected by discrimination in the UK. She notes that ‘mainstream’ racism is something most people are aware of, but she wants to highlight the daily experiences that her and her friends go through. With Matipa, she is working on developing ideas and keeping momentum for the organisation. Her desire for change in this area is inspiring to her mentor:

“She has shown me that Black womanhood is so nuanced. People my age have different experiences, and lots of resources are often geared towards us. It is humbling to learn about the beauty and innocence of young black people through Sukai.”

To others who want to get involved in the Catalyst, Sukai has a word of advice. “Be prepared to work and to have fun. But don’t come in with too many preconceptions. Come lighthearted. Don’t feel burdened if things go wrong, or you don’t achieve everything you want to - as long as you achieve something.”

Matipa echoes this, emphasising the need to “have grace for others and for yourselves.” She did not have any particular expectations when she began mentoring, but has found true joy in “the beauty of getting to know someone.”


You can check out the work of Talking Colours here!

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