By Adrienne Carlisle
RHODES University yesterday launched its biggest fundraising initiative ever, aimed at raising R1billion to assist academically deserving students in financial need.
The Isivivane fund was started with a founding amount of R5million from Absa Bank, which will assist 150 academically deserving students from the socalled "missing middle".
These are students whose family income means that they do not qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), but who can still not afford university.
The ambitious fundraising initiative is inspired by an Nguni saying, ukuphosa itshe esiviva neni, which means "to throw a stone on the pile".
"The main goal of the Isivivane fund is to secure sufficient funding to ensure that no academically capable but financially needy student is refused entry to Rhodes University on the basis of lack of funds," Rhodes vicechancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said.
The R1billion the campaign aims to raise will also help increase postgraduate intake and to grow the endowment to ensure sustainability.
One of the students who will benefit from an Absa bursary, secondyear pharmacy student Yamkelani Sopapaza, said the bursary would allow her to focus on her studies without the anxiety of how she would pay her fees.
Absa EC Business Banking head Simphiwe Funani with Rhodes University VC Sizwe Mabizela.
Please help us to raise funds so that we can give all our students a chance to access online teaching and learning. Covid-19 has disrupted our students' education. Don't let the digital divide put their future at risk. Visit www.ru.ac.za/rucoronavirusgateway to donate