Buffalo City Metro’s executive mayor Xola Pakati put a smile on the faces of 27 destitute first-year university students from across the metro when he handed them bursaries on Friday.
The mayoral bursary fund has over the years made it possible for over 55 poor but academically deserving young people to attend institutions of higher learning.
The fund has so far produced 12 graduates, some of whom are doing experiential training within the municipality.
At the East London City Hall on Friday, Pakati said the city viewed the bursaries as an investment and that they would engage with businesses to try and increase the kitty. “Investing in young people will lead to many positive benefits for our nation, more particularly our metro. We want to urge business to see the value in investing in the societies that they are located in.”
Pakati added: “Businesses ought to be active corporate agents working for the resolution of our challenges as a nation.
“If we could be fully supported by business in these initiatives, we would be making our country…a much better place.”
Thandokazi Mbolorhana, now an information technology intern in the municipality, received a bursary in 2011 and studied for her IT diploma at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
Mbolorhana said the bursary had opened doors that were previously closed to her, as her parents could not have paid for her studies.
“Although I knew that I wanted to study, the issue of lacking finances had always been at the back of my mind.
“Thinking of it I would get discouraged, but somehow my cousin saw an advert in the Daily Dispatch, and I took a chance and applied – and here I am today, a graduate,” she said.
Mbolorhana urged the new bursary recipients to take the city’s generous gift with both hands and bring back positive results from their studies.
“Those awarded bursaries should grab this opportunity and never forget how fortunate they have been to receive it.
“This is because there were many others who applied and who also qualify, but because of limited resources they fell away,” said Mbolorhana.
The fund, first launched in 2008, has set aside R1.2-million to assist this year’s intake of 27 students.
One of this year’s recipients, Ayabonga Vazi, 18, from Sweetwater township outside King William’s Town, will pursue a degree in agriculture at the University of the Free State.
She told the Dispatch she was grateful for the opportunity.
“I was so excited when I got the news because I was not sure of where I would get the money to go to school, because my mother is unemployed,” she said. — email@example.com