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Thandi Nqowana receiving her 2018 Student Researcher of the Year award
Thandi Nqowana receiving her 2018 Student Researcher of the Year award
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Socially responsive and innovative student

Date Released: Thu, 31 January 2019 11:48 +0200

Thandiswa Nqowana, a Rhodes University master’s degree candidate, has been involved in Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) programmes since her first year at Rhodes University in 2013. She, at last year’s Community Engagement Awards, was recognized as the 2018 Student Researcher of the Year and one of the 10 Gold Award recipients.

Thandi’s community engagement journey began in high school when she joined the Interact Club where they did various activities, including designing bead accessories for the Grahamstown hospice. The small but meaningful impact that the Interact Club made encouraged Thandi to want to continue with her involvement in community engagement initiatives.

In her first year at Rhodes University, Thandi participated in a literacy development programme at Samuel Ntsiko Primary School. Her desire to bridge the educational gap in Grahamstown public schooling led her to mentor two learners from GADRA, through the then RUCE student volunteer programme (now known as the Engaged Citizen Programme), in 2014. Both the learners received outstanding results at the end of that year and enrolled at Rhodes University the following year.

In 2018 Thandi also started tutoring Life Sciences to Ntsika Secondary School matric learners during school holidays. She has ambitions to grow this initiative and involve learners from other schools. She also last year arranged mock exams for Grade 12 learners to ensure that their challenges with each subject are solved before final exams. The pilot for this programme was started in November and will inform the planning and enrolment of the programme in 2019.

At the beginning of this year one of her mentees, Usiphile Gazi, was announced as a top student from historically disadvantaged institutions’ 2018 matric class in the Sarah Baartman District. Usiphile was part of the 9/10ths Mentoring Programme, a Rhodes University and GADRA Education partnership initiative geared towards equipping matric students in selected local schools to cope with their final year of school and to pass to their full potential. Learners in this programme are given one-on-one attention from a Rhodes University student through nine guided and structured contact sessions.

Thandi expressed how proud she is of her mentee. “Usiphile was very proactive and hardworking throughout the year. She did not wait for our contact sessions to ask for help. She would call whenever she needs assistance with her school work and I loved that about her”, said Thandi. Usiphile will now be at Rhodes this year and will enroll for a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree.

Source:Coomunity Engagement Directorate