UKZN Celebrates Top Achievers
Seventy-three of the top-achieving scholars who have received prestigious scholarships were honoured for their academic excellence in a Scholarship Awards Ceremony held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)’s Westville Campus on 4 September.
A total of around 4000 awards worth approximately R80 million were distributed to students who have attained outstanding results in Undergraduate, Honours, Masters and Doctoral Studies during 2012. The scholarships awarded are largely funded by the university and by donors, and demonstrates the calibre of students choosing to study at UKZN.
The best single undergraduate in the entire University and the best student to enter final year in the first degree was Mr Ridwaan Amod (22), a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering student has achieved remarkable results that far exceed the norms of the average top student. Amod is the top student among 28 000 undergraduates.
Amod received the Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship and the Townley Williams Scholarship.
Distinguished Students’ Award, running for the second year, was awarded to Bachelor of Social Science Honours student, Mr Lukhona Mnguni and to Ms Basheera Mohamed, a Bachelor of Community Development Honours student.
The award recognises and rewards outstanding academic achievement together with excellence in community engagement or University service as reflected in the vision, mission and goals of the University. These are given to the most talented, caring and exceptional graduates and young leaders from final year undergraduate or honours level who have been judged as being most exemplary in embodying the ideals and attributes that the University seeks to create in every graduate.
Guest speaker and KwaZulu-Natal Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo congratulated the recipients and reminded them that the awards “extols them to begin a long journey that requires them to emulate and surpass the achievements of Frene Ginwala, Zak Yacoob, Vincent Maphai and Pius Langa”.
Mr Mohammed Kazi, Bachelor of Medicine student was the top recipient of the Pius Langa Scholarship while the top student in the Frene Ginwala scholarship was a Commerce in Accounting student Ms Thembelihle Bhengu.
The Pius Langa scholarships are awarded to the students who were ranked in the top ten in the province by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department NSC examinations, or top nationally in the IEB matriculation examinations, while the Frene Ginwala scholarships are made to the top black African female entrants coming into the University as new undergraduate students in all disciplines.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal said, ‘Scholarships are awarded on a fiercely competitive basis in which merit is the most important criterion. A stringent selection process, in which the scholarships committee considers the marks obtained, the top marks and size of the class, the number of certificates of merit, Dean’s commendations and the consistency of high performance among other aspects. The students finally recognised are the very best of thousands of hopefuls.’
The scholarship that provides postgraduate scholarship opportunities for top-performing female students resident in eThekwini to study abroad and acknowledges and encourages top-performing female students is the Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship, a substantial complete scholarship provided by the family of C.G. Smith.
This year’s recipients were College of Humanities Masters’ students, Ms Rachel Morrow and Ms Fathima Mohamedy. Morrow was also named the Mandela Rhodes Scholar.
Dhlomo commended UKZN for being a true African University in the African soil, serious about Africa’s Development.
Four Master of Social Science students, Ndubuisi Ani, Ms Mbalenhle Dlamini, Mr Sabelo Phakathi and Mr Mlungisi Phakathi were the recipients of the Rick Turner Scholarship awarded to the memory of contribution made by Dr Rick Turner to the discipline of political science at the university and his much wider contribution to civil society. These awards are directed at excellent postgraduate students in the broad cognate disciplines of Politics and Labour Studies, but who also exhibit a depth of community engagement.
Professor Vithal said: ‘It is heart-warming that some of our recipients come from less fortunate backgrounds.’