UKZN Awards Prestigious Scholarships
A total of 120 out of 5000 University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) prestigious scholarships and bursaries were awarded to top achieving students during the University’s Annual Scholarships Awards Ceremony, held at Westville campus’s Main Hall on 26 August, in recognition of outstanding academic excellence and achievement in sport.
Scholarships are awarded on a fiercely competitive basis in which merit is the most important criterion. The students finally recognised are the very best of thousands of hopefuls. The scholarships awarded are largely funded by the university and by donors and demonstrates the calibre of students choosing to study at UKZN.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning and Chair of the Scholarships Committee, Professor Renuka Vithal highlighted the University’s commitment in supporting students with funding and rewarding excellence.
She said the scholarships are awarded in three categories which include have come in undergraduate; people already in undergraduate and to postgraduate students.
She added this is the second year the University has awarded the Sport’s Scholarships and highlighted the new scholarships that were started in 2015.
Mr Musa Kika and Ms Domonique De Klerk were each awarded the Distinguished Student Awards. This prestigious award is based on nominations from staff or students in the University. It recognises and rewards students with outstanding academic achievement together with excellence in community engagement or University service as reflected in the vision, mission and goals of the University.
Two awards are made each year 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.
The Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship was, in 2015, renamed to the Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship, after the former first Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This scholarship is awarded to five top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from first-year to second-year of study in each of the four Colleges.
For the first time at UKZN, the prestigious Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship was awarded to a black African female. The recipient is Miss Thomzonke Zungu who plans to pursue a Masters of Social Sciences – Industrial Psychology. The scholarship, named after Sir Charles George Smith’s wife, provides postgraduate scholarship opportunities for top-performing female students to study abroad and is valued at around R600 000.
Another highlight of this year’s awards event was the introduction of a new scholarship with a focus on transformation. The Talent Excellence and Equity Scholarship is being offered for the first time to top black African students intending to pursue an academic career at UKZN. This prestige award made from the University’s own funds enables the University to identify potential talent with intention to grow the next generation of academics.
The prestige undergraduate scholarships, awarded to the three top-performing undergraduate students in the entire University – were all women.
Miss Rashalia Pather (Bachelor of Music) is the top Undergraduate student receiving the Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship. This award goes to the best single undergraduate student in the entire University.
Vithal highlighted that this year was an achievement as the award hardly goes to the College of Humanities.
Miss Zahra Essack (Bachelor of Science) took second place receiving the Brenda M Gourley Scholarship. Miss Jyoti Maharaj (Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting) came in third place receiving the UKZN 100th Anniversary Scholarship.
Former UKZN Top Scholar, Mr Ntokozo Qwabe was the Guest Speaker at the event. Qwabe was recipient of the Distinguished Student Award and the Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship at the 2014 Awards Ceremony. In the same year he was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, with which he undertook a year of study at Oxford University in England.
In his address, Qwabe encouraged students to strive to do better and be better no matter what circumstances they face. “In all the spaces we move around we must be conscious of why we are there and show up. I was a trolley operator, a till packer and a cashier. I thought I hit rock bottom but I showed up in what I did, you must always strive to show up,” he said. Qwabe also encouraged students to ensure that they all take on a leadership role in their communities, “take leadership and ascend to a call of duty,” he said.
Among the guests was the former Vice Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, Mrs Louise Africa, wife of the late Hugh Paul Africa and Mr Ernest Africa, brother of the late Hugh Paul Africa.
The recipient of the Hugh Africa Scholarship was Ms Nothando Shezi. The Hugh Africa Scholarship is made annually to a top new entrant choosing to study Education at UKZN and named after Professor Hugh Africa, a distinguished educationist and a former Vice-Chancellor, member of UKZN Council, and UKZN honorary doctorate recipient.
Sithembile Shabangu and Sejal Desai