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