Humanities Master’s students Ms Nonjabulo Maseko, Ms Samukelisiwe Ndaba, Mr Zakhele Thobela, Mr Seluleko Ngcobo and Mr Comfort Ngcobo were awarded the Rick Turner Scholarship during the UKZN Scholarship Awards ceremony.
The Rick Turner Scholarship was established to honour the memory and contribution made by Dr Rick Turner to the discipline of political science at the University and his much wider contribution to civil society. This award is directed at excellent postgraduate students in the broad disciplines of Politics and Labour Studies, but who also exhibit a depth of community engagement.
Speaking about attaining the scholarship, Maseko said, ‘It means a lot. A burden has been offloaded. This scholarship will make a huge difference and assist me towards my tuition fees and my research.’ Maseko attended Silver Heights Secondary School in Pietermaritzburg where she dominated on the sports field and classroom. She hopes to one day be a lecturer and contribute to the growing body of research in her field of social sciences.
Thobela sees scholarships of this nature as important ‘because they can help the needy and educate people about heroes like Rick Tuner.’ He is grateful for the opportunity to continue with his studies and not have to worry over finances. ‘When I broke the news to my parents, they were so happy. It has given us much hope for a better tomorrow,’ he said. Thobela went to Shallcross Secondary School, Chatsworth, where he excelled academically and was a mentor to other learners.
For Ndaba, this scholarship is a reward of her hard work, determination and sacrifice. ‘Being awarded the scholarship is not just about receiving funds to reduce financial burden. For me, it is essential as it tells me that I have been recognised as a symbolic of change in the future of our society,’ she said. Ndaba attended Emfundweni High School at Thirst Farm, Dannhauser. ‘Coming from rural areas where schools still lack proper facilities and infrastructure; there were little things done besides teaching. In future, I want to have an organisation that gives back to the community,’ she said.
Ngcobo deemed 2018 as the hardest year in terms of his studies as he did not know how he would pay for his tuition fees. ‘I’m currently struggling to support myself at residence; even to meet basic needs. The prospect of having to pay fees left me numb. I had no motivation whatsoever for academic excellence and was fixated on getting a job to pay my fees so I could graduate,’ he said. Ngcobo is now free of financial woes and is motivated to excel academically, much like he did at Isolemamba Senior Secondary School in Umbumbulu.
Ngcobo (Comfort) is also grateful for his scholarship. His father is the breadwinner at his home; earning very little to support the family. Without this scholarship, he would not have been able to pay his son’s fees. ‘My parents are happy. It’s one less financial burden they have to worry about,’ said Ngcobo (Comfort), who went to Wiggins Secondary School in Cato Manor where he excelled academically and shined in many leadership roles. His advice to other students is, ‘Work hard and always put God first.’
The students are keen to pursue their studies further and in future be more involved and active in community engagement.
Rick Turner Scholarship recipients (from left) Mr Comfort Ngcobo, Ms Samukelisiwe Ndaba, Mr Zakhele Thobela, Mr Seluleko Ngcobo and Ms Nonjabulo Maseko.
Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal