Talented Visual Arts Student Awarded Three Prestigious Scholarships

Talented Visual Arts Student Awarded Three Prestigious Scholarships
Talented Humanities student Ms Shannon Bennetts.

Visual Arts student Ms Shannon Bennetts has been awarded three scholarships - the College DVC Scholarship, the Brenda Gourley Scholarship and the Townley Williams Scholarship - for the best student entering the final year of study in a first degree.

Bennetts was surprised to receive the scholarships and grateful to the University and the sponsors. ‘It was totally unexpected and I was bursting to tell my family as soon as I heard the news. It means a great deal to all of us, as now my dream of studying overseas is suddenly within reach. Thank you so much to UKZN and the donors! You've helped to change lives with your generosity, and I’m glad to have been chosen,’ said Bennetts.

As well as aiding in further study, Bennetts will use the funds for equipment and materials. ‘Ours is a notoriously expensive degree in that area. When you’re working in the field of Visual Arts, your income is rarely consistent, should you be able to find work at all.’

Bennetts attended Epworth High School in Pietermaritzburg where she matriculated in 2013 with seven distinctions, receiving subject prizes for English, English Literature, AP English, Visual Art and the Dramatic Arts.

She also received the Spirit of Epworth Trophy - awarded to a learner who by virtue of her personal characteristics made a significant contribution to the life of the school.

Based on her academic results, in her first year of study at UKZN, Bennetts received a voucher worth

R20 000 towards her degree in the Arts and certificates of merit for six out of her eight modules. In her second year, she was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and received certificates of merit for her eight modules.

‘These scholarships are an investment in the future enabling us to further our studies and focus solely on our work without hesitation due to worry about costs.

‘Think of how much further we can go, the boundaries we can push. As our Fine Art lecturer once said, we are the future of this world. This funding will make our ability to shape it that much easier,’ said Bennetts.

What advice does she have for other scholarship recipients? ‘When you’re going up to receive your award, keep your eyes on the stairs. The last thing you need after years of academic toiling is to trip just before they hand you the gold medal!’

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Frene Ginwala Scholarship opens Study Opportunities for Education Student

Frene Ginwala Scholarship opens Study Opportunities for Education Student
Ms Thembalethu Mthembu.

The teachers I had throughout school are my heroes and role models. They were good at explaining content, were patient, set high goals and knew how to motivate us, says Frene Ginwala Scholarship winner, Bachelor of Education student, Ms Thembalethu Mthembu.

‘I decided to pursue a career in teaching because I believe that education is important and it will improve the world. I want to be part of this honorable profession and maybe someday I will be counted among those in whom future student teachers found inspiration.’

The Frene Ginwala Scholarship is awarded to top Black African women entrants arriving at the University as new undergraduate students.

Mthembu matriculated at Sinethezekile Combined School at Jozini where she achieved outstanding Grade 12 results.

‘I am over the moon about receiving the scholarship. What makes me the happiest is that I got it because of my hard work and determination. The scholarship will open many doors for me as it will cover my tuition fees,’ she said.

Mthembu plans to study to PhD level and eventually become a university lecturer.

She has this advice for other students: ‘Make your studies a priority because they are the main key to success.’

author : Nomcebo Mncube
author email : Mncuben@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Research Scholarship for Doctoral Student

UKZN Research Scholarship for Doctoral Student
Ms Lilly Phiri.

PhD student in the Gender and Religion Programme at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC), Ms Lilly Phiri, has won the prestigious UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship.

The UKZN-funded scholarship is the most prestigious award at senior postgraduate level with a maximum of four being annually awarded.

Phiri’s research focuses on how gay Christians “self-construct” their identities and sexualities and the role of religions and cultures in this process. The study, framed by social constructionism and self-verification theories, uses the concepts of incipient theologies and borderland gender and sexualities as analytical frameworks.

Her research demonstrates the argument that the gender binary model is inadequate for the conceptualisation of sexual identity construction, as study participants who identify as gay Christians express their sexual and gender identities in fluid ways. 

Phiri graduated with a Master’s degree cum laude in the Gender, Religion and Health Programme led by Professor Gerald West.

Her PhD supervisor, Professor Sarojini Nadar, says the distinguishing contribution of Phiri’s master’s work was to shift the public health discourse from “men who have sex with men” to “men who love other men” by discursively subverting the dominant discourse and replacing it with how the men theologically understand themselves and their sexualities.

This work has been developed in her PhD into a focus on how gay men self-construct their identities at the intersections of religion and culture.

The scholarship will assist Zambian-born Phiri with living costs at campus, her data analysis process and travelling to conferences to present research findings. It will also enable her to focus on completing her thesis.

‘To me this scholarship is inspiration to work extra hard in my doctoral studies. It has also taught me that in some instances individuals may be too busy to celebrate their successes but institutions like UKZN do take time to remind us of how hard we work. My family is excited about this scholarship - to them it is a sign of excellent academic performance and a source of pride,’ she said.

As an emerging scholar, Phiri boasts an impressive academic career. She matriculated in 1999 as one of the top four students at Caritas Convent Secondary School in Kabwe, Zambia progressing to the stage where she now co-publishes book chapters and journal articles with renowned academics in the field of Religion and Philosophy.

She has also published academic work on her own and has worked on several journal articles.

For three consecutive years (2012-2014), Phiri received the Excellent Academic Achievement Award from the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics and was also awarded a book prize for one of her modules in 2012.

She graduated cum laude in her honours and master’s degrees.

Phiri, who plans to become a lecturer and publish widely, hopes to be the first African woman theologian with expertise in African alternative identities and sexualities. ‘Ten years down the line, I foresee myself being part of global organisations representing Africa in academia. I plan on being an academic who will have influence at grassroots level and carry out my civic duties responsibly.’

Giving advice to other students, she said: ‘Your academic efforts are never in vain. Being a scholar is not about competing against anyone but with yourself to be the best you can be and find joy in what you do.’

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

College of Humanities Honours Students Awarded Archbishop Denis Hurley Scholarship

College of Humanities Honours Students Awarded Archbishop Denis Hurley Scholarship
Recipients of the Archbishop Denis Hurley Scholarship, from left: Ms Memory Ngwazi, Mr Francis Fabian Akpa-Inyang and Ms Zama Shabalala.

‘This award will help me realise my dreams,’ said honours student Ms Bongolethu Diko, who won an Archbishop Denis Hurley Scholarship.

Diko was awarded the scholarship along with three other College of Humanities students: Mr Francis Fabian Akpa-Inyang, Ms Memory Ngwazi and Ms Zama Shabalala.

Raised by a single parent in the small rural Eastern Cape town of eNgcobo, Diko always believed hard work and dedication would propel her to great heights.

‘The tough financial situation at home compelled me to search for work during holidays so that I could contribute towards expenses at home and also buy myself academic material.

‘This scholarship relieves a lot of the financial burden and I can now look forward with confidence towards achieving my dreams.

Ngwazi was born in Zimbabwe, she was raised by her two brothers after she lost both her parents when she was young. ‘The scholarship is such a breakthrough. I am very excited and still celebrating!’

Applied Ethics (Honours) student Akpa-Inyang says winning the scholarship is like a miracle. ‘As a Nigerian student there were many challenges including a shortage of finance. I feel privileged and consider this a huge achievement.

‘The scholarship will open more doors for me and I am determined to make UKZN proud of me.’

All four scholarship winners plan to study up to doctoral level. 

Giving advice to fellow students Ngwazi said: ‘Don’t lose focus at university, embrace the opportunity and achieve your goals.’

author : Nomcebo Mncube
author email : Mncuben@ukzn.ac.za

Top Students Receive Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship

Top Students Receive Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship
Three of the four students who received the Scholarship Awards.

Four College of Humanities’ students were awarded the Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship for their outstanding academic performance.

They are Ms Kerry-Leigh Anderson, Ms Kevoli Pillay; Ms Lynne Richards and Ms Kajal Brijlal.

‘I had been denied a student loan previously and was struggling to pay my student fees, so being awarded this scholarship has meant a great reduction in my financial stress,’ said Anderson, a Bachelor of Social Science student majoring in isiZulu and Psychology.

Pillay, who is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies, said she was thrilled about receiving the award. ‘This scholarship has made it possible for me to participate in the UKZN exchange programme and study in France.’

Although the scholarship has significantly reduced her anxiety about paying fees she will continue putting immense pressure on herself to excel academically. ‘I want to gain as much experience as possible during my studies in order to pursue a career which I know will make a positive impact on society.’

Richards, a Bachelor of Social Science student (Industrial Psychology and Management), says the scholarship will broaden her horizons. ‘As an individual I do not shy away from leadership roles and this scholarship enables me to focus solely on my academics without the financial anxiety.’

‘Attending a tertiary institution is a great privilege in the current economic climate and therefore this scholarship lessens the financial burden on my parents who are of pensionable age.’

author : Reatlehile Karabo Moeti
author email : moetir@ukzn.ac.za

Humanities Student Receives Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship

Humanities Student Receives Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship
Mr Mfundo Mdletshe, recipient of the Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship.

A student at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), Mr Mfundo Mdletshe, has been awarded the prestigious Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship.

‘I am thrilled to be joining a community of high calibre scholars,’ said Mdletshe. ‘Despite what some might think after recent events which questioned the Rhodes legacy, I am excited about being associated with an award which bears the names of two famous men. I look forward to grappling with the legacies of both characters.’

The scholarship will assist Mdletshe financially offering him the opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies. ‘Without the scholarship, I would sadly probably have become a financially excluded student.

‘I do not only carry my dreams but those of my family too.  As such this scholarship will not only positively contribute to my life - through financial resources and the leadership programme - but will indirectly improve the lives of my family members,’ he said.

The Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship aims to help build new generations of exceptional leaders in Africa based on the principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship and leadership.

‘I think this is a bold vision and one that requires a lot of determination to achieve. Africa needs to take ownership of its story and draft its own identity,’ said Mdletshe.

‘I think more scholarships that believe in Africa and promote critical thinking among its recipients are needed.’

Mdletshe, who has been at UKZN for the past five years, feels the Institution mirrors the harsh reality of South African society. ‘On one hand there are students who obviously come from a position of privilege, while there is also a pool of disadvantaged students. It thus made sense for me to read for my Masters in Development Studies at UKZN.’

‘But over and above that, before applying for this degree, I did some research on the Discipline of Development Studies at UKZN and I continue to be impressed by the well-read academic staff of this Discipline,’ he said.

Mdletshe attended Greytown High School where he received the Dux award in 2011 for the top matric results in the school – 6 As and 100% in Accounting.

He also got the Team Award for representing the School’s first soccer team for over 80% of the games in the schools league in 2011.

At UKZN, he received a Merit Scholarship in 2012, the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship in 2013 and the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary in 2014. He became Mentee of the year in the College of Humanities, gave a talk on My UKZN Experience at the Scholarship Voucher Ceremony and is a proud member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Said Lecturer Professor Sarah Bracking: ‘Mfundo is a stunning student who is now contributing to the programme of the South African Research Chair on Poverty Reduction. He is analytical, fastidious and accomplished and will make a contribution to the betterment of society.’

Mdletshe thanked the Scholarships Committee and his family and friends for their constant support and love.

He had this advice for other students: ‘Keep doing the good work you are doing in your society. You are making a difference in someone’s life and that’s what matters.’

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Education Student Lands Coveted Hugh Africa Scholarship

Education Student Lands Coveted Hugh Africa Scholarship
Hugh Africa Scholarship recipient, Mr Denzel Nkabinde.

Hardworking Bachelor of Education student Mr Denzel Nkabinde, who grew up in a single parent household, is at long last able to afford his university fees!

He scooped the prestigious Hugh Africa Scholarship, presented annually to a top new entrant choosing to study Education at UKZN.

‘Since the beginning of the year, my family and I have struggled to find the money to pay fees. I was constantly worried and distressed and wondered how I was going to continue at UKZN,’ said Nkabinde.

He says now he feels as if a huge weight has been taken off his shoulders.

He lauded the University and the scholarship donors. ‘This scholarship means a lot to me and my family. It puts me a step closer to realising my dreams. Moreover, it will give my family and I a better life; a life we’ve always hoped and wished for.

‘Scholarships of this nature are extremely important because they provide the key to unlocking the future for many young people in South Africa. Education is the mother of leadership, however, it is sad that it comes at such a cost.’

Nkabinde matriculated from Greenbury Secondary School, Phoenix, with seven academic awards in matric, scoring an overall A aggregate. He achieved the highest aggregate in Business Studies in grade 11 and matric, also being recognised as the Top Business Studies student in the history of the School by attaining 100% for Business studies in the National Senior Certificate.

Nkabinde, who is passionate about education and teaching, plans to dedicate himself to transforming lives through education.

He also hopes to become a professor one day.

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Masters Students Receive Rick Turner Scholarships

Masters Students Receive Rick Turner Scholarships
Students who received Rick Turner Scholarships.

Five postgraduate students from the College of Humanities were each awarded a Rick Turner Scholarship which honours the memory of slain activist Dr Richard Turner and his contribution to the Discipline of Political Science at UKZN.

The scholarship is awarded to excellent postgraduate students in the broad disciplines of Politics and Labour Studies who also exhibit a depth of community engagement.

The students are:

  1. Mr Dominic Dummene Lele, who is studying towards a Master’s degree in Environmental Sociology, was ecstatic when told he was a scholarship winner. Lele says the scholarship will give him peace of mind about paying his fees and other expenses. ‘It also boosts my academic zeal and passion to study further.’
  2. Mr Fidelis Joseph Udo, who is studying towards a Master’s degree in International Relations, said that he felt honoured to be a scholarship recipient.  ‘This scholarship will help me in my Master’s studies. It will cover some expenses which I would otherwise have spent time worrying about.’
    He thanked the University and said he was challenged to develop a more generous attitude towards people.
  3. Mr James Ndlovu, a Master’s student in Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies, said: ‘It is such a humbling achievement which I do not take lightly because I believe that the greatest tool that I have as a leader is my own personal example and attaining such merit demonstrates to everyone else that anything is possible.’
    He said the scholarship placed huge responsibility on him to inspire fellow students to reach greater heights and exploit their potential.
  4. Master’s student Mr Obadiah Moyo says being recognised for his hard work and dedication, has boosted his confidence.
    ‘This is a blessing from God which I am very grateful for. The scholarship is also a reward for hard graft and will always remind me that dedication and hard work pays off.’
  5. Mr Tigere Muringa a Master’s student in the School of Arts, says he is so grateful to the UKZN Scholarships Committee and the sponsors for recognising his unfettered and unremitting contribution to the University community and his exceptional academic performance.

‘The University of KwaZulu-Natal is one that rewards merit and in that process nurtures and inspires excellence and greatness.’

author : Reatlehile Karabo Moeti
author email : moetir@ukzn.ac.za

Talent Equity Scholarship Showcases Excellence

Talent Equity Scholarship Showcases Excellence
College of Humanities’ recipients of the Talent Equity and Excellence Scholarship.

Five students from the College of Humanities now know that hard work and dedication pays off after being awarded the Talent Equity and Excellence Scholarship.

This Scholarship - which forms part of Human Resources’ Graduate Development Programme - is funded by the University to enable it to grow the next generation of academics by identifying potential talent in the final years of undergraduate study and at postgraduate levels.

Mr Lungelo Mbatha, Mr Sanele Nsele, Mr Sizwe Sidaza, Miss Sinehlanhla Sithole and Mr Lukhona Mnguni’s dream of entering the world of academia is edging closer.

In 2008 Sithole completed a year at the University of Johannesburg, she could not further her studies due to financial problems. She had no knowledge about financial aid. Sithole shared ‘it was only in 2012 that I managed to get a bursary that put me through undergraduate level.’

Sithole graduated with her Honors in International Relations cum laude in May 2016. She is currently working on Various Terrorist Recruitment Strategies for her Master of Social Science.

‘I was raised by a single mother who always emphasised the importance of education.’ Said Nsele who is ecstatic about being awarded the scholarship. Nsele grew up in Kamelkop, a deep rural area near Wasbank.

Nsele shares that ‘Transition from underprivileged school to university environment and expectations were challenging.’

For Mbatha, a BA Honors student, majoring in Philosophy, the scholarship is a gateway to furthering his dreams. Mbatha, who was academically excluded from the University of Cape Town, also did not let his physical disability stand in his way. Mbatha has Congenital Deformation on his left arm and right leg.

 ‘Luckily, though, I got a second chance at UKZN when I was called by the Disability Unit at the Pietermaritzburg campus which offered me Financial Aid.’

His Lecturer, Dr Heidi Matisonn from UKZN’s School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics said: ‘In my 10 years of lecturing I have never met a more deserving student than Lungelo.’

Mbatha also coaches the Dubula Football Team in Pietermaritzburg and is currently a Chairperson of non-governmental organization Ability with Disability.

The recipients’ message to all students was: ‘Never give up and work very hard.’

author : Slindile Amanda Mkhize
author email : MkhizeS14@ukzn.ac.za

Humanities Students Secure Sports Awards

Humanities Students Secure Sports Awards
Ms Jacintha Padayachee (left) and Mr Sandile Dlamini with their families.

Five College of Humanities students have won UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarships for outstanding achievements at provincial, national and international levels in soccer, volleyball, netball, rugby and athletics.

They are Ms Jacintha Padayachee, Ms Zinhle Mlaba, Ms Ziyanda Ngcobo, Mr Thobekani Buthelezi and Mr Sandile Dlamini.

Padayachee’s passion for sport flourished when she was in primary school while her interest in volleyball was encouraged by her father and she was later chosen for the KwaZulu-Natal senior women’s volleyball team.

‘My parents have both been medically boarded making it a huge challenge for us to find money to pay the costs of study and travelling so the scholarship will help ease that problem,’ said Padayachee.

‘I really enjoy playing volleyball and have high hopes for my success in the sport in the future.’

Mlaba who grew up in Richmond in KwaZulu-Natal, has been involved in athletics, netball and soccer and has played in the Sasol Women’s Soccer League.

She struggled to find money to pay for the necessary sports gear and clothing but carried on determined to rise above the challenges.  ‘The scholarship will help cover the costs of a lot of things which is a huge advantage for me.’

Ngcobo said the scholarship would assist her a lot with the costs of studying and playing sport for which she was very grateful.

author : Slindile Amanda Mkhize
author email : MkhizeS14@ukzn.ac.za

Top Students Honoured at Scholarship Awards Ceremony

Top Students Honoured at Scholarship Awards Ceremony
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Renuka Vithal; Distinguished student, Mr James Ndlovu; UKZN Chancellor, Dr Zweli Mkhize; Distinguished student, Mr Lungelo Mbatha; and UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

View Scholarship Recipients

A total of 120 of UKZN’s top students were recognised for their achievements during the 2016 Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony held recently.

Each year UKZN’s Scholarships Committee selects recipients for scholarships with about 6 000 awards valued at about R150 million being made to those who attained outstanding results in undergraduate, honours, masters and doctoral studies in 2015.

Awards are made on a fiercely competitive basis in which merit is the most important criterion. The committee considers the marks obtained, leadership attributes, and the consistency of high performance, among other aspects, depending on the specific scholarship.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, said it was exciting to note a more diverse group of scholarship award recipients. ‘We are seeing a change in that scholarship recipients are not mainly from one particular race, gender or discipline. Rather there is a mix of students from different backgrounds, schools, and disciplines.

‘In the past five years there have been increasingly more Black students, women students, and students from disciplines such as the performing arts excelling - a change from the days when most of the recipients were from Science schools and colleges.’

Among the University’s top scholarship recipients this year was Ms Shannon Bennetts, who won three top scholarships: the Brenda M Gourley Scholarship for being placed second among more than 30 000 undergraduates; the Townley Williams Scholarship for the best student entering the final year of study in a first degree, and the College DVC Scholarship.

Bennets, a Visual Arts student, represents a discipline whose students are relatively new among scholarship recipients.

Bachelor of Medicine student, Mr Dimitrije Mamontov, received the Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship, awarded to the best student among all undergraduates

One of the more unique awards announced at the celebration was the Distinguished Students’ Award, for top performing students who have not only excelled academically but also display leadership in their communities and among their peers.

This year’s recipients were Master of Social Science student, Mr James Ndlovu and BA Honours student, Mr Lungelo Mbatha.

Mbatha was born with a congenital deformity of the right leg and left arm, which limited his movements but not his mental capacity or aspirations!

Mbatha also received the Talent Excellence and Equity Scholarship awarded to top Black African students intending to pursue an academic career at UKZN.

In his spare time, Mbatha coaches the University soccer team and performs duties as Chairperson of the student organisation, Ability with Disability.

Scholarships were also awarded to students who excel in sport ie achieve provincial, national or international recognition.  In line with an aim to promote greater diversity in sports at UKZN, the University awarded 46 new sports scholarships compared to 31 last year.

For the first time ever, the committee was at odds about who should win the Vincent Maphai Scholarship, awarded to the best Masters student at UKZN.  In line for the award were, Medical Science student, Kimberleigh Bianca Govender, and Law student, Siddharthiya Pillay, and in the end it was decided they should both receive the scholarship.

Master of Law student, Ms Priyanka Naidoo was the recipient of the Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship. The Scholarship provides top-performing female postgraduate students, resident in eThekwini, to study abroad.

Some recipients stand as examples of achieving excellence in the face of adversity. An example is BSc Mathematics and Science student, Mr Cebelihle Zwane, who was orphaned as a child and raised by his cousin. He is now the proud recipient of a College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship, which is awarded to the three top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from second to subsequent years of study.

Vithal said the Scholarship Awards Ceremony was a special evening which recognised the hard work and dedication of students striving for and achieving excellence. ‘We salute each and every award recipient for doing UKZN proud and Inspiring Greatness!’

Presenting the Official Address, University Chancellor Dr Zweli Mkhize congratulated the recipients. He shared his pride in being associated with such a prestigious event.

Parents, friends, principals and University management were among the guests that attended the Award ceremony.

The following scholarships were awarded

•    Pius Langa Scholarships

•    Frene Ginwala Scholarships

•    Undergraduate Scholarships

•    Malegapuru W. Makgoba Scholarships

•    Brenda M Gourley Scholarship

•    Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship

•    Townley Williams Scholarship

•    Zac Yacoob Scholarship

•    Maryam Babangida Scholarship

•    Vincent Maphai Scholarship

•    Abe Bailey Travel Bursary

•    S2 A3 Medal

•    Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship

•    TB Davis Scholarships

•    Archbishop Denis E. Hurley Scholarship

•    Rick Turner Scholarship

•    Hugh Africa Scholarship

•    UKZN 100th Anniversary Scholarship

•    College Deputy Vice-Chancellors’ Scholarships

•    UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarships

•    Mandela Rhodes Scholarship

•    Talent Excellence and Equity Scholarship

•    UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarships

•    Distinguished Students Award

author : Sejal Desai
author email : desaisej@ukzn.ac.za