Former SRC members start scholarship for struggling students

iHlumo founders hand over scholarship to first recipient, Ntokozo Tokelo Maduma
iHlumo founders hand over scholarship to first recipient, Ntokozo Tokelo Maduma

By Nwabisa Moyo


Going through University without financial support can be stressful, weighing down on many students in this position. To mitigate the impact of the challenge, four members of the 2017 Student Representative Council have heeded the call by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sizwe Mabizela by establishing a scholarship fund.

The iHlumo Scholarship, a brainchild of Mr Kamogelo Masilo, was established in 2023 in collaboration with Mr Onela Nongubo, Mr Dingaan Booi and Mr Rolihlahla Mabaso.

The first recipient of the scholarship, Ntokozo Tokelo Maduma, a second-year Bachelor of Commerce student, was selected early this year, and the handover ceremony was held in March.

Guided by its altruistic purpose of simply giving back, it aims to do so, one student at a time. Nongubo stated at the handover ceremony, “The name ‘iHlumo’ is derived from the word ‘Hlumelo,’ which in direct translation means ‘growth’. The sole purpose is to grow - to grow an individual, to grow a community by contributing to that individual which will have a direct impact on the surrounding community and nation. This scholarship recognises the importance of ‘the unit’. In any context, the unit, whether part of a team or an organisation, is crucial for the efficient and appropriate functioning of the whole.” 

Their passion for making a difference fuelled the founders’ desire to create the scholarship and to spark the same fire in the recipients of the scholarship. Nongubo explained, “The iHlumo scholarship prides itself in assisting students who are in need, by ensuring that their right to education is not denied.”

They currently offer an annual scholarship in any field of study to a selected candidate at Rhodes University. The scholarship is open to students in all faculties because the founders strongly believe that anyone can make a difference. 

It does more than pay fees, it feeds into the future of students, rescuing them from the place of despair and hopelessness. Scholarship recipient Maduma said, “The scholarship found me. After receiving outstanding results, I was contacted and asked for an interview, after which I was awarded the scholarship. My initial response upon receiving the scholarship was relief. I have less stress, as a big portion of my fees at the University is now covered, which will allow me to put more focus on my studies. After the news had fully settled in, I felt joy that I was being noticed for the work I put in, as this rarely happens, so having it finally happen to me felt truly amazing.”

The founders aim to inspire the recipients to learn from them and start contributing to their communities in whichever way possible. Nongubo said, “With this scholarship, we beseech the recipient to recognise their power as a unit in making a change in the larger society, and to contribute positively as an engaged citizen of our country. We beseech the recipient of this scholarship to continue in the stride of excellence.”

The founders wish to encourage other University alumni to make a financial contribution to their alma mater to assist the next generation of Old Rhodians. “As alumni of Rhodes University, it's crucial for us to continue giving back because our contributions have a profound impact on current and future generations of students,” Nongubo said. "By donating, we are not just supporting an institution; we are investing in the potential and dreams of countless individuals."   

Prof Mabizela could not contain his excitement at the handover event and expressed his appreciation to the founders of the scholarship for their progressive thinking and generosity. He further encouraged the first recipient of the scholarship to do the same in the future.

This scholarship signifies the ripple effect of kindness, empowering individuals to become agents of positive change. Through its unwavering commitment to supporting students in need, it transforms individual lives. It paves the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for our communities and nation as a whole.

To make a contribution email or call 046 603 8516.