Education Students Land Coveted Hugh Africa Scholarships

Education Students Land Coveted Hugh Africa Scholarships
Mr Qaphelani Ndlovu, one of two recipients of the Hugh Africa Scholarship, with Professor Busisiwe Ncama, DVC and Head of the College of Health Sciences.

Bachelor of Education students, Ms Shannon Ajodha and Mr Qaphelani Ndlovu have been awarded prestigious Hugh Africa Scholarships. 

The scholarship is named after Professor Hugh Africa, a distinguished educationist and former Vice-Chancellor and UKZN member of Council, and the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from UKZN. 

The scholarship is awarded annually to a top first-year student choosing to study Education at UKZN. 

Despite Ndlovu, who attended Sister Joan High School, being recognised as the top matriculant in the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, he didn’t know how he was going to pay his university fees. His father is unemployed while his mother works in a factory earning a minimum wage that barely covers the expenses of running a home. 

Ndlovu, who is a traditional healer, said the scholarship meant he could now study without the stress of worrying about fees being paid. ‘Scholarships like these are very important, especially to students who want to further their studies but cannot afford to. 

‘I was off school for weeks due to illness and when I returned, I had to catch up which I found difficult because of the workload. I got to the stage where I was ready to quit school because I saw myself as a failure with school not an option for me,’ he said. ‘My parents solved the issue traditionally and I was no longer distracted and eventually became the top student at my school and in the district.’ 

Ndlovu is now excited about what the future holds. ‘I want to be a teacher but continue studying and travel the world.’ 

He has this advice for future scholarship winners: ‘Be proud for being top achievers. Do not lose focus and continue striving for the best.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Award Enables MA Student to “Live Her Dream”

Award Enables MA Student to “Live Her Dream”
Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship award recipient, Ms Theshira Pather is congratulated by her proud parents.

Master of Arts student, Ms Theshira Pather, has won the sought-after Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship which allows top-performing postgraduate women students resident in eThekwini to study abroad. 

‘This scholarship means the world to my family and myself.  Studying at an overseas university has always been one of my dreams but due to financial constraints it was a pipe dream. Now I am able to go out and live my dream thanks to UKZN.’  

Pather was home-schooled by her father and completed matric doing Cambridge International Examinations. She boasts a large number of accolades and achievements at UKZN and is also one of the top students in the 40-year history of the School of Arts. 

She is a talented pianist and has played in a number of concerts at the University of Stellenbosch and venues in Durban. 

Pather completed theory and practical grades through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London and through UNISA as well as winning numerous musical awards from the South African Society of Music Teachers and at the Queensburgh Festival of Arts. 

Fine Art is another of her interests. Two of her works were chosen for display at the UNISA Durban Visual Arts and Multimedia Senior Students Exhibition at the artSpace Gallery in 2014. 

‘I have always wanted to study overseas, and especially in the UK. My father is a pensioner so we have relied on merit scholarships and bursaries from UKZN to fund my studies up to now. 

‘Without the Emma Smith scholarship I would not be able to attend university overseas. This scholarship has significantly boosted my self-esteem and proves that hard work will open doors.’ 

Pather is no stranger to challenges. ‘Doing a Classics major, requires one to learn Latin and ancient Greek - I decided to tackle the languages simultaneously! Learning a new language is an extremely challenging task so learning two ancient ones was particularly difficult. I think the key to overcoming challenges, both academic and general, is having a strong support group and building up the determination and positivity to get through it all.’ 

Pather plans to complete her PhD, enrol for post-doctoral research and lecture at a university. ‘I would like to be involved in and set up outreach programmes with schools and other educational organisations to promote the Classics and literacy, especially in underprivileged areas.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Young Achiever Scoops Distinguished Student Award

Young Achiever Scoops Distinguished Student Award
Distinguished Student Award recipient, Ms Natasha Moodaley.

Education and Development student Ms Natasha Moodaley is the winner of the UKZN Distinguished Student Award which recognises and rewards outstanding academic achievement and excellence in community engagement. 

‘The award is the result of collaborative work with colleagues and a desire to change lives for the better,’ said Moodaley, who graduated summa cum laude with an Honours degree in education and development, which she believes is due to the collaborative learning approach used by UKZN lecturer Ms Jane Quin. 

In terms of her contribution to the community, Moodaley is currently a fully involved member of the Young Professionals’ League (YPL) - an initiative she helped establish. The YPL is geared towards supporting students and learners in their studies and goals through the development of hard and soft skills. 

‘The league was started by a group of friends who identified challenges they had faced trying to navigate and access higher education,’ said Moodaley.  ‘Being the first in a family to attend a post high school institution, cultural differences, accessing technology and the pressures from your own family were among the common factors identified by the group.’ 

Moodaley and other YPL members work after hours arranging events as well as on Saturday mornings when they assist with a peer-to-peer learning programme and still find time to mentor young high school and university students.  

‘And staff at Umvuzo High School near Pietermaritzburg have given us their full support in all our endeavours,’ she said. 

‘There is a collective desire among YPL members to see change coupled with action.  This is why the money from my award will be going solely to this cause.  We will investigate ways in which the financial contribution will serve the people of the community best - I am very excited about that.’ 

Moodaley hopes that the Young Professionals’ League will grow into a movement across KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of South Africa.  

She thanked her colleagues and friends, as well as educators and learners at Umvuzo High, and lecturers and students at TVET, DUT and UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus for their support and UKZN for giving her the award. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Scholarship Boost for Aspirant Academics

Scholarship Boost for Aspirant Academics
Humanities students who received the Talent Equity and Excellence Acceleration Scholarship (from left) Mr Siphesihle Kunene with Acting Registrar, Dr Kathy Cleland; Ms Hleliwe Khumalo; Ms Nonjabulo Ndwandwe; Mr Marole Moloi; and Mr Mzwandile Zulu.

Six students from the College of Humanities, who hope to become academics at UKZN, have received the Talent Equity and Excellence Acceleration Scholarship. 

Funded by UKZN, this scholarship - awarded to students intending to pursue an academic career at UKZN - enables the University to identify potential talent for the future. 

The students are Ms Hleliwe Khumalo, Ms Nonjabulo Ndwandwe, Mr Marole Moloi, Mr Mzwandile Zulu, Ms Nothando Ntaka and Mr Siphesihle Kunene. 

Kunene says the scholarship will make it possible for him to realise his dreams of becoming an academic at UKZN. His academic journey has been fraught with difficulties such as being unable to pay for his fees, food, accommodation and books. 

To make matters worse he was shot in the back during an attempted hijacking and spent a week in hospital and two more weeks recovering at home. 

Kunene is now completing his Masters in Population Studies, with the aim of attaining a PhD. Eventually he wants to become an academic in the areas of development and social justice. 

For Khumalo, the scholarship means a better and brighter future and the means to continue with her studies. ‘It will change my life for the better in a way I could never have imagined. The funding will sustain me and my family.’ She plans to complete her master’s and PhD degrees, before becoming a lecturer. ‘Tutoring has made me realise the passion I have for lecturing. Not only do I want to consume knowledge I also want to produce knowledge.’ 

Ndwandwe is the only one in her family to study at university and receive awards. ‘Attaining a doctorate as well as being able to meaningfully contribute to the body of credible knowledge has been a life-long dream of mine which will now hopefully become a reality.’ 

With the support and care of staff from the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS), she realised her potential and love for academia. 

Moloi of Estcourt says he is honoured to receive the scholarship. ‘It shows that hard work pays off in the long run.’ He believes scholarships are important as they motivate students to strive for excellence throughout the course of their studies. 

Moloi is completing his PhD in Community Development and has a wide range of subjects he would like to publish papers on, including reflective research and mainstreaming indigenous knowledge systems as part of Community Development projects in Estcourt. ‘In 10 years’ time, I hope to be a productive academic writer, contributing to academia and writing about responsible development issues in South Africa and Africa.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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College of Humanities Boasts Seven Denis Hurley Scholarship Achievers

College of Humanities Boasts Seven Denis Hurley Scholarship Achievers
From left: Mr Shaylen Naidoo, Ms Catherine Muyonjo, Ms Phakamile Mazibuko, Ms Caitlin De Waal, Mr Mkhuliseni Mkhize and (right) Mr Simo Cele (receiving his award from Professor Deresh Ramjugernath) are excited about their scholarship awards.

The Archbishop Denis Hurley Scholarship - dedicated to candidates who are disadvantaged but academically excellent - has been awarded to seven students at UKZN’s College of Humanities

Recipients are: Mr Simo Cele, Ms Caitlin de Waal, Ms Phakamile Mazibuko, Ms Khulelaphi Mdluli, Ms Catherine Muyonjo, Ms Nothando Pahla and Mr Shaylen Naidoo. 

All the students, many of whom had been struggling with financial difficulties, were thrilled to hear they were scholarship winners.  

The scholarship is a dream come true for teacher Muyonjo. ‘I was raised by a single mother and I am so glad that she no longer has to worry about my varsity fees. I have three sisters and we all depend on her. This is such a weight off our shoulders.’ 

Muyonjo battled depression and suffered discrimination from fellow students. ‘I was born in South Africa but my parents are from Uganda,’ she said. ‘I always felt that I did not belong and this upset me so much. In the house I was renting there were people who would not talk to me for weeks. It was challenging but I knew my purpose and I did not let a negative atmosphere hinder my academic progress.’ 

Muyonjo is now part of the UMTAPO Student Movement which aims at educating the youth about social issues, a member of the Golden Key International Society and is involved in charity work with St Anthony’s Church. 

Naidoo says the scholarship assists transformation, emancipation and empowerment. During his matric year at Apollo Secondary School in Chatsworth, his father died resulting in financial difficulties for the family. Naidoo also had to cope with domestic violence and poverty in his neighbourhood.

He says his life as a student was bitter-sweet. He never had extra money to buy clothing and other accessories that most students he knew had. He was once robbed of his cellphone, bag and watch while waiting for a bus. ‘My home was quite a distance from the bus route and I remember days in which I walked in torrential rain which damaged my course notes.’ 

Naidoo, who says he relied on the kindness of family and friends during his studies, plans to do his PhD in Transdisciplinarity and Integrative Social Science Education, aiming to one day lecture at the University.  

Port Shepstone resident Cele identifies studying without funding as highly stressful. ‘You don’t know whether you will make it through to the following year, you are stuck with the same diet for the rest of the year and you are just not at ease.’ 

The scholarship has freed Cele financially and allowed him to enjoy his studies and the entire experience of being a student. Armed with a passion for writing, Cele will delve into development studies, focusing on organisations driven by creating spaces for growth for South African communities. ‘I’m interested in coming up with ideas that are people- centred and that will create employment, business opportunities and the personal development of individuals within society.’ 

Education student De Waal says the scholarship had assisted her financially. ‘I believe it will open many doors. Scholarships afford students of every background the opportunity to have hope, which is what a lot of young people lack today.’ 

De Waal is passionate about education and teaching. ‘Imparting knowledge to younger individuals has been a passion of mine from a young age. I believe it runs in my blood. I come from a very long line of teachers on both sides of my family. We call it the family business.’ She plans to follow in the footsteps of her family members, in addition to attaining a master’s and a PhD. 

Education student Mazibuko sees herself as free of the financial shackles linked to her studies and being an inspiration to her younger siblings to strive for excellence through hard work and determination. ‘To achieve and maintain excellence is not an easy task. It is a lonely, tiring and draining journey. But the values of commitment, hard work and consistency have kept me going on good and bad days.’ 

She aims to complete her master’s and PhD degrees, eventually opening up the Phakamile Mazibuko Foundation to collaborate with various organisations to develop broad community engagement projects to improve the lives of people, especially women in rural areas. 

Mdluli says she will use the scholarship money to pay for her tuition and residence fees. ‘I come from an impoverished background. This scholarship has reduced my stress levels. I can now focus on improving academically and get my master’s and PhD.’ She thanked the scholarship donors and her family and friends for their support. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo  

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Eight Master’s Students Set to Benefit from Rick Turner Scholarships

Eight Master’s Students Set to Benefit from Rick Turner Scholarships
From left: Master’s students Mr Zwelisha Mfishi, Mr Lindokuhle Shandu, Ms Nokukhanya Zondi, Mr Sthembiso Phoswa, Ms Alandra Naidoo, Ms Nomfundo Sibisi, and Ms Felicia Mashabane.

Rick Turner Scholarships will make huge differences in the lives of eight masters students in the College of Humanities. 

The scholarship was established to honour the memory and contribution made by slain anti-apartheid activist, Dr Rick Turner, to the Discipline of Political Science at the University and his much wider contribution to civil society. 

This year’s recipients are: Mr Zwelisha Mfishi, Ms Alandra Naidoo, Ms Nokukhanya Ngema, Mr Sthembiso Phoswa, Mr Lindokuhle Shandu, Ms Nokukhanya Zondi, Ms Nomfundo Sibisi and Ms Felicia Mashabane. 

Mfishi said: ‘As a postgraduate student with no means of financial support this scholarship gives me the opportunity to excel in my studies. My next step in academia is to get my PhD in Social Work and to leave a footprint in life by becoming an influential person through acts of philanthropy. I believe it is only when we extend a helping hand that we are able to change the lives of others.’ 

Naidoo, who attended Queensburgh Girls’ High School in Durban, says she applied for the scholarship as a means to pay off her fees. ‘I tutor part-time on campus but because I don’t live on campus, a large portion of my salary goes towards meeting travel costs rather than paying off fees and the costs of my master’s research fieldwork. The scholarship will now assist me with my career goals and life.’ 

Naidoo plans to complete her PhD and start an NGO supporting children’s rights and the end of baby dumping. A job within the United Nations or human rights sector is also a possibility. 

Master’s student in Child Care and Protection, Zondi said: ‘I am the first in my family to attain this level of education and one of the few in my community to do so. My underprivileged background has fuelled my ambition for success. As a Black rural girl, this scholarship means my family income status does not determine my goals. My mother is a pensioner, my father is a security guard and I have six siblings so as a family we could not afford to pay my university debt. I’m so grateful for the scholarship.’

She plans to be a social worker and to open a career centre in her hometown of Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Criminology and Forensic Studies student, Shandu of Inanda at first relied on his grandmother’s pension to buy food but he is now a tutor on the Pietermaritzburg campus and uses the money he earns for groceries and his family’s needs. The scholarship will support his master’s research in terms of equipment and travel costs. ‘I am truly humbled by this scholarship and I hope that the scholarship funders will continue changing the lives of many aspiring academics, leaders and researchers of this generation and future generations.’ 

Shandu plans to pursue careers in Forensic Investigation and Psychology/Psychotherapy, in addition to lecturing. 

For Sibisi, the scholarship will help pay off her tuition historical debt. ‘Education is of great value to me and I take it very seriously. To be given the opportunity to study further is of great importance and I intend to go as far as I possibly can with it and complete my master’s degree this year.’ She considers scholarships important ‘because they recognise our community service and academic excellence, encouraging us to continue doing what we love’. Sibisi plans to do her PhD in social work and to make a mark in the academic and humanitarian world, to be an inspiration to others and to promote unionism. 

Phoswa says UKZN is a highly-ranked institution in Africa and that reputation was a factor in his decision to study at the University. ‘As a person who loves contributing to the production of knowledge, I believe studying social work will help me develop skills to spread the good in society.’ He considers the scholarship as vital to help students from disadvantaged families pay their tuition or residence fees and to conduct research. Phoswa plans to complete a PhD in social work and become a lecturer. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Sports Scholarships for Eight UKZN Sportsmen and Women

Sports Scholarships for Eight UKZN Sportsmen and Women
Prestige Sports Scholarship recipients (from left) Mr Asanda Zulu; Ms Carla Anne Parsons with UKZN Convocation member, Mr Andrè Young; Ms Sasha-Lee Nordengen-Corris; and Mr Sibongile Novuka.

UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarships have been awarded to eight students from the Disciplines of Arts, Social Sciences and Education for outstanding achievements in sport at provincial, national and international levels. 

The students are, Mr Lubabalo Mnguni (volleyball), Mr Thubelihle Sithole (volleyball), Mr Mfanfikile Dlamini (soccer), Ms Carla Anne Parsons (volleyball), Mr Asanda Zulu (football), Mr Songezo Mnguni (volleyball), Mr Sibongile Novuka (rugby) and Ms Sasha-Lee Nordengen-Corris (swimming). 

Education student and captain of the SA Lifesaving team, Nordengen-Corris, is grateful to the scholarship donors for relieving her father of the financial burden of paying her fees, saying she is now able to save money for international sports trips which further her sporting career. 

Nordengen-Corris has an impressive swimming career being selected to represent South Africa 17 times. Her top positions internationally are a first place in the surf swim at the Sanyo Cup 2019, third in the Surf Swim in Taplin, and second in the rescue tube and board rescue at Junior World Champs. She is also the 10km Open Water SA National Champ. 

Her goal is to finish in the top two in the SA National 10km event and be selected to go to Portugal for the Olympic trials next year eventually competing in the 2024 Olympics. 

Social Sciences student Parsons, who plays for the SA U20 Volleyball Team, considers herself blessed to be able to play the sport she loves and be funded academically. ‘The scholarship definitely gives my family and me financial sanity and relief - I am very grateful for being funded. The scholarship pushes me to continue making provincial and national teams and maintaining a good academic record at UKZN. Attendance at training is a requirement of the scholarship, which therefore produces committed and determined athletes.’ 

Her sports achievements include being selected for the U20 South African Women’s Team for the U20 Region 5 Youth Games in Botswana, being a member of the Kingdom Rhinos ( KZN ) Provincial team which participated in the National Volleyball League, and being chosen for the U25 National USSA Student  Women's Volleyball Team. 

Honours in Education student Mnguni, who plays for the SA Students Volleyball Team, sees the scholarship as providing an opportunity for sportswomen and men to express their passion through sport. ‘The scholarship makes me feel like I’m a valued and integral part of the University and it gives me great pride and joy to be acknowledged in this way. This scholarship means that all the support and effort my family gave me year in and year out on the side of the volleyball court was not for nothing.’ 

Apart from excelling on the court, Mnguni plans to pursue his Masters in the future. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo  

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal and supplied


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MW Makgoba Scholarships for Five Humanities Students

MW Makgoba Scholarships for Five Humanities Students
From left: Ms Sabrina Loubser, Ms Lindokuhle Mbatha, Ms Jadine Pillay, Mr Ntuthuko Hlela, and Mr Darren Jantjies.

Five top achievers from the College of Humanities - Ms Jadine Pillay, Ms Lindokuhle Mbatha, Ms Sabrina Loubser, Mr Darren Jantjies and Mr Ntuthuko Hlela - have been awarded the prestigious Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship. 

The scholarship, named after the former UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, is awarded to five top first-year students from each of the four Colleges. 

Hlela, who went to Umlazi Comprehensive Technical High school, is over the moon about the scholarship. ‘My parents had to go to a loan shark for financial assistance to raise the cash for me to register and start my first year of study,’ said Hlela. ‘For the first four months, I helped them repay the loan, so as a result I was not able to buy the required textbooks for the first semester. Faith and a hunger for success helped me overcome these challenges,’ he says.  Hlela thanked his parents for their support and said he plans to go through to do his doctorate. 

Pillay of Chatsworth says she is grateful to the funders of the scholarship. ‘This scholarship has allowed me to focus fully on my studies free of the worry about tuition fees and is a clear indication of my hard work and efforts. It serves as a source of motivation to keep me striving for excellence.’ 

For Mbatha, the scholarship affords him financial and emotional freedom. ‘I’ve always seen UKZN as a prestigious institution, it’s always been a dream of mine to be here. To study at this University has been close to my heart for as long as I can remember, and getting a chance to do it and realising it’s the best choice I have ever made, is the most exhilarating feeling.’ 

Said Loubser, who matriculated from Ashton International College in Ballito: ‘I am thrilled to be a scholarship winner and at UKZN where I am doing a degree concentrating on Politics, Philosophy and Economics.’ 

Jantjies, who attended Kloof High School, sees the scholarship as a huge achievement that will assist him while he is in Canada on an exchange programme later this year. ‘I now see that if I work hard enough there are people that notice, and are willing to invest in me. I plan to finish my degree and build a portfolio of works as a digital artist.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Good Tidings Replace Bad Memories

Good Tidings Replace Bad Memories
Ms Yanelisa Mbana, proud recipient of a 50th Anniversary UKZN Scholarship.

Humanities student, Ms Yanelisa Mbana, has bad memories of struggling to pay her fees and an illness which forced her to stop her studies temporarily. 

However, all that was washed away by the exciting news that she has been awarded a 50th Anniversary UKZN Scholarship for her outstanding academic performance. 

‘When I became sick, it was difficult for me to balance my health with study demands. I had to stop my studies but was determined not to give in,’ said Mbana. ‘I eventually got better and started all over again, managing to achieve way beyond my expectations.’ 

Mbana says the scholarship is a stepping stone to greater opportunities. Her goal is to maintain a good academic record while working towards her honours degree next year in Linguistics. ‘I am interested in doing in-depth research in my field with the goal of having completed my masters five years from now. The field of linguistics has a wide reach and I am especially interested in its potential for bettering our education sector.’ 

Mbana thanked the funders of the scholarship. ‘My grandmother was so happy when I told her that I had received a scholarship from UKZN. She can now rest easy knowing there is a way forward for me.’ 

Mbana says scholarships simplify life for students. ‘They encourage us to do our best. The recognition, over and above the monetary reward, make the hard work and perseverance worth it.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship – A Focus on Migration, Home and Identity

UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship – A Focus on Migration, Home and Identity
Ms Subashini Govender, this year’s UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship award recipient.

Ms Subashini Govender is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship. Govender, a Humanities student, is honoured and grateful to receive such a prominent award. The scholarship will serve as a source of funding on her study on Transnationalism, Home and Identity of South African’s of Indian Descent Migrating to Australia. 

She explains that her research is important as it investigates how migrants come to reflect and understand their identity and ‘home’ as they move to another country while still having ties to their ‘home’ country. She explains that concepts such as ‘home’ and identity are both fluid, malleable and open to appropriation and renegotiation within and across borders making them complex, multifaceted and multifarious. Thus, as people move from one country to another, the identity and notions of home of migrants are disrupted and destabilised in a new social setting. Questions of how to reconceptualise one’s identity and ‘home’ in a new social milieu but still connected to an old ‘home’ arise. 

Her study specifically focuses on how South African’s of Indian descent, who are a heterogeneous group of people, who are classified under the racial identity of ‘Indian’ in South Africa, might come to question their identity as they move to Australia, a society that does not entrench any racial categorising system in its state. Her study ultimately examines how this group of migrants would reconstruct their identity and re (make) ‘home’ moving from a country were ‘race’ and ‘race-thinking’ is institutionalised and promulgated by government to a country where ‘race’ is comparatively non-existent.                

Govender has several academic accolades under her belt, which includes a number of merit certificates, Dean’s commendation, bursaries awarded at undergraduate and Honours level for exceptional academic performance and a cum laude pass at honours level. Although she endured a setback during her master’s research which compelled her to leave academia after her completion of her master’s degree, her passion, perseverance and sheer determination ultimately brought her back to UKZN to pursue her PhD. 

She wishes to continue with her fledgling career as a researcher to become an outstanding researcher of the social sciences in the future. Govender extends her gratitude towards all her teachers at the Sociology and Anthropology Departments at UKZN, especially her supervisor, who has over the years encouraged her, supported her and most importantly believed in her capabilities. 

Her advice to other students is, ‘Life is not lived in a straight path. There might be obstacles in your way but don’t lose hope, be resilient, be dedicated, be disciplined. Things will come your way but in its own time so be patient, persevere, work-hard, do your best and never give up. Achieve and once you have achieved give back to those in need in your own way.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Research and Work in Education – Driving Forces for Scholarship Achiever

Research and Work in Education – Driving Forces for Scholarship Achiever
Ms Megan Raftery with Professor Busisiwe Ncama, DVC and Head of the College of Health Sciences.

Independent research and working in education to further transformation and development are what drives BA student and Brenda Gourley Scholarship recipient, Ms Megan Raftery. 

Raftery said she was thrilled to receive the scholarship awarded for her academic excellence. ‘I have two younger siblings and the cost of my tertiary education has been something my family has struggled with. Winning this scholarship means I can independently fund my studies next year, relieving part of the burden on my parents and family who have supported me from the beginning.’ 

Raftery, who attended St Henry’s Marist College in Durban, was ranked in the top 1% of candidates in English in her matric year by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB). 

Raftery came into her own academically at UKZN. ‘I’ve loved the way that doing a BA at UKZN allows you to structure your own degree and pursue things that you are passionate about. For my first two years, I was majoring in English and Psychology, but did a few classical civilisation modules, and realised how fascinating I found the ancient world, especially mythology and the stories developed by different cultures.’ 

Raftery currently works as a debating coach and tutor, and volunteers with an education-based NGO that works with schools in the Cato Manor area. ‘I’m passionate about education as a tool for development and transformation,’ she says. 

Raftery plans to pursue postgraduate studies all the way to a PhD. ‘My plan is to end up lecturing English at a university. I feel like that would allow me to combine my love for education and independent research. Right now, I’m working on my research interests – I appreciate the broad scope and balance of texts and theory in the UKZN English programme.’ 

She advises students to believe in themselves and in their capabilities, and to make use of the resources the University provides. ‘There’s an abundance of academic and physical and mental health resources, and not enough people take advantage of that. Your tutors, lecturers, ADOs are all there to help you. If you’re struggling, whether personally or academically, you’re not alone.’ 

She thanked her family, friends and lecturers for being her support system. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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College DVC Scholarships for Three Humanities Students

College DVC Scholarships for Three Humanities Students
Scholarship recipients (from left) Ms Nokubonga Chauque, Ms Nothando Maphumulo, and Ms Romaana Muhammad.

Three undergraduate students in the College of Humanities - Ms Romaana Muhammad, Ms Nothando Maphumulo and Ms Nokubonga Chauque - have received 2019 College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships. 

Growing up within a family of healthcare professionals, Muhammad has always been interested in health and the workings of the brain, which is what drove her to choose majors - psychology and linguistics - within the field of cognitive science. ‘I love learning, which is what makes studying less daunting,’ she said. 

Her achievements include receiving Dean’s Commendations and Merit Certificates for achieving the highest marks in certain modules every semester since the beginning of her degree and being part of the Golden Key International Honours Society. 

‘Even though I am one of the top performers in my degree, it doesn’t mean I don’t experience my own share of anxiety - worrying about whether I’d pass a module or not. I also faced a few health issues but with the grace of the Almighty and a strong support system of family and close friends, I managed to overcome these difficulties.’ 

Muhammad plans to pursue postgraduate studies, focusing on the field of psycholinguistics and to eventually take on research on communicative deficits within individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism. 

Maphumulo, on the other hand, went against her father’s wishes for her to study Law and instead followed her passion and took on African Music and Dance (AMD). 

She sees the scholarship as freedom from her financial burdens with her father now able to provide more for the family without worrying about her fees. ‘This bursary means a lot to me and my family - my father is the only breadwinner and he’s had to pay my varsity fees and also take care of my seven younger siblings.’ 

The scholarship will assist Maphumulo with her postgraduate studies and allow her to focus on opening her own company/academy for young children from impoverished township backgrounds, exposing them to Art and the career possibilities and societal change it provides. 

Chauque says her family cried when they heard she got the scholarship. ‘I think they were tears of joy as they all knew how hard I had worked regardless of the challenges we faced together. My mother once said to me: “Life is like a climb, once you reach the top of one mountain you realise they are more mountains to climb. You just keep climbing and keep going”,’ she said. 

Chauque chose her course based on her love for people and understanding their behaviour and thoughts. She also has an interest in counselling, and assessing and treating mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. ‘I am impressed by the use of the science of psychology to solve or treat complex human problems and promote change and resilience.’ 

She is working towards becoming a registered clinical psychologist and wants to put her skills to good use through community engagement. ‘It’s not about getting a degree but what you do with it after you get it. I believe we are enlightened so that we can do the same for others.’ 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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