One award, two recipients

Student Volunteer of the Year winners
Student Volunteer of the Year winners

Sam Ncula

Sam is passionate about education. She has been a mentor in the 9/10ths mentoring programme since it’s inception in 2016 and was selected as a leader in 2019. She has also joined the Budding Q early literacy programme this year. As a leader she radiates energy and friendliness. She is reliable, respected and organized and has often offered up solutions or ideas to the betterment of the programmes.

As a mentor and volunteer she has experienced a variety of educational contexts, and has approached each situation with compassion and understanding. She has a deep understanding of community engagement. Her relationships are meaningful and whole, well-considered and bi-directional. Sam goes above and beyond the expectations of her, often using her own resources and time to ensure her mentees realise their full potential against all odds. She will organize tutoring for them, or access the guidance and motivation they need. Recently she and a co-leader have embarked on a campaign to motivate mentors by reuniting mentees who are studying at Rhodes with their mentors and making short videos to share on social media. 

Sam challenges the norm and tackles challenges in a practical manner. Her input has been useful in shaping and informing the Nine Tenths Mentoring Programme. Her approach to volunteering is one that demonstrates individual and group learning and growth.

Sam works hard to connect to each of her mentees personally and creates a unique experience for each of them, every session. It’s notable to mention that all Sam’s mentees  have substantially improved their matric results each year (moving up at least one level of pass) and she has managed to maintain a relationship with all her mentees. That translates to consistent engagement with 8 mentees, and this number grows! Her investment in building and sustaining deep and meaningful relationships as part of  human development is very significant and we applaud her practice.    

Mandilakhe Valela

Mandilakhe Valela has been a volunteer since his first Year at Rhodes, which was 2016. He started off by being involved in Nokwandile Day Care Centre, participating as part of Jan Smuts Dining Hall Community Engagement program. In 2017, he became more involved as the Student Leader in the Student Volunteer Program while volunteering at Ikamva. As a Student Leader, Mandilakhe had the primary task of forming effective relationships with different Stakeholders which included but not limited to Site Managers, Student Volunteers, Community Engagement, and the Learners. In 2018, he continued with the responsibility of being the Student Leader in the Engaged Citizen Program, assisting with the recruitment and registration of new volunteers.  Mandilakhe did well to present in the Community Engagement Symposium on the topic “The Peaks of Student Volunteerism: A Student Leaders Perspective”. In 2019, as a Student Leader he worked very closely with other Student Leaders from different Projects, offering support and collaborating with them in their different Programs. Mandilakhe also presented in the 2019 Community Engagement Imbizo, on the theme ‘Reimagining South African Public-School Education System’. He also organised a Career Day for the Community Partner Organisations and other important Stakeholders.


Source:  Community Engagement Directorate

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