Ife breaking boundaries

OE Ife Adepegba was one of 14 black male Cambridge University students pictured in a photo that quickly ‘went viral’.

The image, posted on Facebook by the university’s African-Caribbean Society, illustrated the fact that in the 2015-2016 academic year, only 15 black, male undergraduates were accepted into Cambridge.  But, says Ife, it also conveyed a positive message, aiming to inspire the black youth of today to apply. “A quote from one of my friends, Dami Adebayo, of Robinson College, sums it up perfectly: ‘Black men don't grow up thinking they'll make it here. They should.'”

Ife adds: “Although we do not look like the 'typical Cambridge student', our presence is as important and valid as the next person’s, and we need to encourage more and more people to break boundaries and transcend stereotypes.”

""The photo was spotted by famous rapper Stormzy, winner of multiple MOBO awards and a Brit Awards nominee, who posted it on twitter – “And you can only imagine how many potential young applicants that platform has the capability of reaching,” says Ife. The story was subsequently picked up by innumerable news organisations, including the BBC.

Ife (OE 2007–2014), who appears fourth from right standing in the first photo (above right) and in the centre of the second (below right), is in the third year of his Architecture degree at King’s College.

""“My main activities at university are quite compromised due to the intense workload of my degree, but I still have managed to continue doing athletics (sprinting), representing the university, and have also been involved in the university's charity fashion show for the last three years.”

Upon graduating, he plans either to undertake a year’s work experience in an architectural firm or to pursue a master’s degree.

“I would like to thank QE for all the opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, and to stress the importance of current students taking full advantage and reaching their full potential.”