Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Augustin’s family was forced to flee when he was just five years old, after his father was killed in the civil war. Augustin spent six years living in a refugee camp in Malawi.
In late 2010 when he was 11 years old, Augustin’s family was granted a humanitarian visa to settle in Australia. Augustin faced a steep learning curve to overcome language, educational and cultural barriers. With no previous education, he had only a couple of months to learn English prior to starting school.
Augustin soon realised that he could not take this life-changing opportunity for granted. His best friend in Malawi, was stabbed to death while buying medicine for his mother. “That was my trigger. I knew I had to achieve something in my life to honour him.”
Augustin’s motivation is evident in his achievements to date. In 2019, he was named College Captain, the first of African descent at Emmanuel College in Altona. “That broke a lot of stereotypes around what African Australians can achieve. Representation is really important.” Leading during the height of the media fixation on African gang violence, he was determined to change this narrative.
As captain of an all-boys college, Augustin sought to interrogate hegemonic masculinity and break barriers around men’s mental health. He ran numerous initiatives addressing such issues. For his outstanding work, he was named Hobsons Bay’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2020. With maturity beyond his years, Augustin attributes his insight to life experience. “I watched my mum raise two boys independently. Women are often treated poorly in developing countries. It was significant for me to see women taking charge of everything.”
At just 19, Augustin ran in the 2020 Hobsons Bay City Council election. While he ran an impressive campaign that garnered significant support, he just missed out on being elected. Nonetheless, he described the experience as an unforgettable one, and he remains determined to pursue his passion for politics.
Augustin is studying Politics and International Relations and Sociology at the University of Melbourne. Next, he plans to commence the Juris Doctor and practice law. However, Augustin’s biggest goal is to become the youngest Secretary General of the United Nations in history. “To many people it may seem unrealistic, but to me it’s very much realistic,” Augustin said.
As the current holder of Hilda’s Humanitas Scholarship, Augustin is immensely grateful for the opportunities the college has provided to him. “Our struggles determine our successes. What we go through at St Hilda’s will help to determine whether we become people of character. Those people with character are the ones who change the world and leave a legacy. That’s what Hilda’s provides to students – an opportunity to create a legacy.”