Vundla scholarships change lives

Posted on May 16, 2016

Two students from the University of Pretoria (UP), Mr Erick Nzimande and Ms Tsitsi Makoni, have been awarded Vundla scholarships for 2016.

The Vundla scholarships are awarded to deserving black or coloured students who register for a postgraduate degree in literature or science technology (excluding health sciences) and have passed the applicable undergraduate degree programme with distinction. The scholarships are sponsored by Mr Mfundi Vundla, Executive Chairman of Morula Pictures and creator and director of South Africa's longest running and most watched soap opera, Generations.

Mr Nzimande, a master's student in African languages at UP, is the first person in his family to have the opportunity to attend university and expects to complete his studies by the end of 2016. Despite enduring great hardship, including a lack of financial resources, he has persisted in furthering his studies. He firmly believes that education is something worth working for and that it is a tool that can be used not only for personal development, but also for the advancement of the greater community.

Mr Nzimande says that African languages are his passion and he wants to be involved in anything to do with their development and empowerment. He currently works part-time as a Terminology Manager for the Department of African Languages at UP, where he is involved with a government-funded project to establish an online Open Educational Resource Term Bank (OERTB). The OERTB is a compilation of terms and their definitions, as well as other important information, in all 11 official languages of South Africa. The term bank will comprise terms relevant to various academic subjects and fields of study, and once completed will be accessible online to all South African universities.

'The Vundla Scholarship has lightened my financial burden and will allow me to focus more on my studies. Receiving this scholarship has inspired me to help others by giving back to the community. I hope that one day I will be able to help other students achieve their goals, just as I have been helped,' says a grateful Mr Nzimande.

Ms Makoni is a master's student, currently pursuing a degree in Mathematical Statistics, who aspires to become a management consultant on completion of her studies. She says that receiving the Vundla Scholarship has lightened the financial burden on both her family and herself considerably, and that this in turn has allowed her to focus on the most important aspect of her studies, namely learning.

In a letter expressing her gratitude to Mr Vundla, Ms Makoni writes: 'Your generosity has inspired me to work hard so that I too may one day be able to help others in the pursuit of education.'

Ms Makoni's sentiment echoes that of Mr Vundla, who says that it is the hope of his family that the Vundla Scholarship will encourage others to come forward and fund the education of deserving young students.


- Author Ansa Heyl

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