Humanities Students Awarded Prestige Sports Scholarship
College of Humanities students Mr Ashley De Beer, Mr Brogan Boulle, Ms Courtney Bolt, Ms Brie Terry Parker, Mr Mfan’fikile Dlamini and Mr Mikaeel Mirza were awarded UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarships for outstanding achievements in sports at provincial, national and international levels.
De Beer, who plays for Golden Arrows Football Club, was thrilled to be able to now study at UKZN. He sees getting a degree as vital in order to be successful. ‘The scholarship will assist me in achieving one of my biggest goals which is financial independence. I will be able to give my future children the best opportunities in life. It will also open doors on the sporting front,’ said De Beer. He attended Carter High School in Pietermaritzburg where he represented KwaZulu-Natal in football for four years. He now plans to complete his degree in Social Sciences and is looking forward to postgraduate studies in the future.
Boulle, who plays rugby for Sharks U19, is honoured to receive the scholarship. ‘My family and I are so grateful. Receiving the scholarship is a great help financially as I can study and play rugby for UKZN,’ he said. Boulle played First Team Rugby from 2015 to 2017 and filled the position of Vice Captain at Westville Boys’ High. He was selected for provincial representation. Boulle also played First Team Rugby Sevens and took part in Athletics; receiving Honours for Rugby and Full Colours for Rugby 7s. ‘I have told people what an amazing institution UKZN is. It allows me to participate in the Varsity Cup Rugby tournament which betters my rugby experience,’ he said.
Bolt, who played netball for KZN U18 in 2016, KZN Midlands U23 in 2017 and KZN Midlands U19 in 2018, attended Westville Girls High and was Captain for Action Netball, part of the Swimming Squad and made Vice-Captain for KZN Midlands Action Netball team in 2018. ‘During my matric year, I had terrible headaches and had to undergo surgery. Due to the headaches, I was not able to participate in sport, but when I was awarded the scholarship, it gave me another reason to push through and to prove not only to myself, but to other people that I am good at what I do and I have the strength and determination to get through it,’ she said. She plans on getting her Doctorate in either Criminology or Psychology and sees scholarships of this nature as important for ‘budding sportswomen to be able to study and play sport as well as give them that boost of self-confidence.’
Parker, who swims for the South Africa Youth Team, is excited about receiving the scholarship. She was home-schooled and completed her matric through Cambridge. ‘I have always maintained a balance between my academic dreams and my sport ambitions.’ Parker is a competitive swimmer and currently ranks in the top 20 in South Africa. She plans to pursue her dream of swimming in the Olympics and become a Sports Psychologist.
Dlamini plays football SA U20. He considers this scholarship a blessing to him and his family. ‘It really means a lot. I can focus more on my studies and continue to excel in sports and represent UKZN.’ Dlamini went to Pinetown Boys High where he was captain of the soccer team. He won Player of the Tournament in the Kloof tournament and Sportsman of the Year at school in Grade 12. He also represented the province at various sporting competitions. His future plans include playing football professionally for the PSL and to, one day, sign to an international football club.
Mirza, who plays badminton SA U19, feels a deep sense of happiness and relief knowing that his education is now taken care of financially. His dream is to play in the Olympics. ‘Badminton is a very costly sport to play. In order for me to qualify for the Olympics, I have to play many tournaments both internationally and nationally and have the means to pay for the training and equipment. This was always very difficult to do whilst pursuing a degree at university,’ said Mirza. He hopes to find sponsors to invest in his dream of competing in the Olympics. He attended Durban High School, participating in multiple sports such as soccer, basketball, swimming, athletics badminton, rugby and squash. As a badminton player, he went on to win silver at the All Africa games in his final year of captaincy.
The students are thankful to the University and the sponsors of the scholarship. They have vowed to continue to excel both on the sports fields and in the academic arena.
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photographs: Rajesh Jantilal and Mikaeel Mirza