“This is an opportunity of a life time”

Tears of joy fell down VanderbijilPark when twenty students received bursaries from Emfuleni Local Municipality to further their studies. The pupils can now look forward to a brighter future as they would study at their respective fields at different institutions.

The handover of the bursaries championed by Executive Mayor Greta Hlongwane accompanied by Members of Mayoral Committee (MMCs) Khulu Malindi, Sello Pitso, Mabandla Ronyuza and Khethiwe Ntombela Hlongwane put a smile to the beneficiary. The bursary will cover tuition fees, textbooks until the end of their studies.

About 35 Emfuleni bursary holders were invited to grace the occasion. One of the beneficiaries, Sampie Khatlakie is now studying a BCom Charted Accounting Degree at North West University. Despite facing many challenges, he managed to complete his Grade 12 at Jeppe (college). However, he never met his biological mother but his unwaged father managed to look after him and gave him parameter with of his aunty and uncle.

Khatlakie said “he cannot believe it is true that he is going to the university, as his father and aunt could not afford to pay for his tuition fees”. His aunt runs a small tuck-shop. “She could not manage to take me to tertiary as the money she is making is not adequate. I am thankful to Emfuleni to offer me such an opportunity of a life time to pursue my career” said animated Khatlakie.

During the give-away, Hlongwane did not mince her words when she told the students to concentrate on their studies. She warned “make sure that you do us proud. Failing is not an option as you would lose your bursaries. I will not allow you to waste the money of Emfuleni residents. Go there and focus to reach your dreams”. “The municipality is trying by all means to empower the youth of Emfuleni and help those who are financial disadvantage to further their studies. “This is your future, make sure that you capture this opportunity with both hands” she explained.

MMC for Local Economic Development, Malindi echoed Hlongwane sentiments by saying students must not forget where they are coming from. “Wherever you go, you are Emfuleni's ambassadors. We are awarding you these bursaries so that you may be educated, succeed in life. Most importantly, in future you will able to school your siblings and look after your families”, he encouraged learners.

MMC Ronyuza added by saying “It is in helping others that we are elevated. Study hard and represent the municipality able-bodied. You are the asset of Emfuleni. We want to be proud of you tomorrow.” Since 2012, Emfuleni has been awarding bursaries to about 75 students. As there is an estimated 45 percent of unemployment youth in this area it is due to socio economic factors. It is believed that scores of parents are incapable to educate to take their offspring to tertiary institutions after completing their Grade 12.

It is believed that the majority of youth do not have qualification under their belt to back them up. Hlongwane challenged the private sector and business people to rally round by awarding bursaries to those who are financially disadvantaged. Students who are based in Emfuleni are encouraged to apply for bursaries in the municipality but must be South African citizens.

By Florence Mafoko

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