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Why we do this

My name is Bongi Khumalo, a proud Zulu girl from Mpophomeni Township. I and my orphaned cousins have been raised by a strong woman, a general worker (cleaner) at the Howick Municipality. My mother and I always had big dreams. She ensured that I attend the best schools inspite of her minimal income. I aspire to be a lawyer. I am 19 years old from a township that is notorious for teenage pregnancies, party culture and lack of progression to higher education. I wanted to be different.  I chose a university that has a sense of unity, a university where students care about other students, academically demanding and challenging.

 Rhodes University is highly recognised and is one of the best in South Africa. I noticed how teenagers from Mpophomeni do not dream beyond Durban. I wanted to go beyond Kwa-Zulu Natal. I wanted to experience new cultures and new challenges so that meant I had to be okay with leaving my mother at home, mostly alone. My mother tries the best in her abilities to financially care for me and slowly pay the university by selling most of her belongings. I normally receive comments like “why don’t you just go to UKZN? I believe I got accepted to study at Rhodes for a reason. I deserve to be here as much as anyone with money does. I worked hard to get into Rhodes and all these struggles I am going through are only preparing me for the greatness that is about to come.

I could have ended up in any university but I ended up at Rhodes. I want to show the power of South African cleaners, how they are paid R5000 a month but still produce graduates from universities like Rhodes. I want to be involved in any initiative that offers betterment for Mpophomeni people but most especially I want to be involved in helping grade 12 students with their work, sharing how I did it and educating them about universities that they are not being told about like Rhodes University.

When I applied to ABSA for a student loan with tears after being rejected by NSFAS, I never thought I would receive a bursary from the university. Rhodes university registration dates closed, no registration fee because of outstanding balances. No other bursaries took a chance on me because my results are not as great as they could be because it is hard to focus and do well when you are uncertain, when you don’t know whether you will be financially excluded , if your mother has eaten , receiving letters for overdue payment for rent , having very little to eat. I am very grateful to ABSA for seeing potential in me and for granting me a bursary.  This lightens a heavy burden on my mother’s shoulders. I have had depression and anxiety because of financial strain; it very hard knowing that your mother has not eaten for days because there is no money. It is an emotional burden no student should ever have to carry so I thank ABSA for investing in the future of our country. It will not change only my circumstance but also my academics.

Last Modified: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:44:27 SAST