Students

Throughout the many years of funding University fees for underprivileged students, the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation has managed to increase the amount of students it has funded within a short period of time, taking into consideration the volumes of underprivileged and uneducated young South Africans that are in dire need of funding. The Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation has funded more than 40 University students to date. Below are some of the former and current student stories and profiles.

Name: Kate Lubisi
Status : Alumni Student
Position: Medicine intern at Themba Hospital, Mpumalanga
Field of Study : Medicine
Kate Lubisi, born and bred in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga, is one of the beneficiaries of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation. Kate is the last born child of a family of six children, headed by a single mother who could not afford to send her to University after her matric.
During her matric year in 2010, Kate, knowing the financial strains that her family suffered – sent bursary, Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation and loan applications to every organisation she could think of. She was determined to further her studies the following year and fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor. Later in the same year, her brother brought a newspaper home which had an advertisement of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation. She wasted no time and immediately sent her application. In 2011, she was awarded the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation and she commenced her studies in Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Receiving the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation was a relief to Kate and her family. The mental freedom of not worrying about University fees or paying for textbooks and meals motivated Kate to excel in her studies, with her eyes fixed on her goal of becoming a doctor.
Kate is currently in her second year as a medical intern in Themba Hospital in Mpumalanga, where she is referred to as Dr Lubisi. In 2019 she will move on to do community work, something that she is passionate about and is looking forward to. She intends on doing her community work in her hometown as part of giving back to the community that groomed her.
Since starting her internship, Kate has already made positive changes in her family’s life: she has upgraded her mother’s house and turned it into a bigger, beautiful and comfortable home and she is currently living with her niece whom she pays school fees for. Kate’s elder sister was inspired by Kate’s drive to succeed and she also decided to further her studies at a college in Mpumalanga, of which Kate is paying for.
When asked what are the values that drive her, Kate’s simple response is that “family is everything”. She considers herself a family member of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, and expresses her eternal gratitude to the Foundation for playing a vital role in shaping her future and her family's.
Name: Mpendulo Clement Nkosi
Status : Alumni Student
Position: University of Witswatersrand, Johannesburg
Field of Study : Medicine
Mpendulo was overjoyed when he found out that he had been accepted to study Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand upon completing his matric in 2011. For his first year, he was a beneficiary of the NFSAS financial aid scheme. However he describes that year as a financial uphill battle; recalling the days he would go to University hungry, Mpendulo says his funding only covered his tuition and could not extend to his study material and meals.
Despite this, the goal driven student made it to his second year where he was advised by his peer to apply for the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation. His second year changed for the better and this was evident in his performance at University and confidence levels; no longer did he have to worry about where his next meal or text book money would come from.
His unemployed parents who lived in Mpumalanga were grateful because they could use the little income they received in the household to send Mpendulo’s younger siblings to school. He said the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation brought great relief to his family, to the extent that his mother’s hypertension stabilized.
Mpendulo says the highlight of his journey with the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation was meeting Mr Eric Mabuza, who he describes as a humble role model who constantly motivated him to never give up on his dream. He explains that his experience of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation was like being part of a family that genuinely cared about his wellbeing and not only his academic performance.
Today Mpendulo works as a junior doctor at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg and plans to study further. He says that he will eternally be grateful for being afforded the opportunity to improve his life and of his family. As the sole breadwinner, Mpendulo says he plans to extend their family house in the near future, as he continues to set a good example for his siblings.
Name: Zanele Sithole
Status : Alumni Student
Position: University of Pretoria, Pretoria
Field of Study : BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying
In 2012 Zanele Sithole enrolled to study BSC Quantity Surveying at the University of Pretoria and graduated in 2014. She was determined to study further and therefore obtained her BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying in 2015.
Zanele Sithole states that the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation made her University experience less worrisome because she did not bear the burden of stressing about her tuition fees and other relevant expenses. She explains that she knew she was never alone during her study years because the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation offered her what she describes as a ‘shoulder to cry on’ whenever she needed one. Zanele says that assistance was always a phone call away and it fostered a sense of belonging while she was away from home.
The Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation has groomed Zanele to understand the principle of giving back to the community based on the vision and mission of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation – to sow the seed and to pay it forward. The young professional has since adopted a philanthropic attitude and explains that she now knows that giving back is not only about money, it’s also about the little things you can do to change someone's life.
Zanele is a true testament that an act of kindness is never forgotten by the recipient. In her bit to give back, she donated her free time to a Children and Women’s home in Edenvale for over 2 years. Zanele says this experience has taught her to appreciate her true capabilities and to constantly challenge herself to dream. Zanele has been working for 2 years since she graduated and is currently employed as a quantity surveyor at RLB Pentad Quantity Surveyors.
As an alumni of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, Zanele urges current and future recipients to consider working before they complete their qualification. Zanele advises that working while completing your studies assists in understanding your chosen profession and in addition it prepares students for the working environment. Zanele believes that no individual should allow their circumstances to define who they are or their future. Zanele believes that if you have dreams, work hard for them and do not stop until you achieve them.
A role model to her younger sister who matriculated in 2016, Zanele is paying for her sister’s tuition at TUT to continue sowing the seed.
Name: Mamokete Lerato Mothopeng
Status : Current Student
Tertiary Institution: University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
Field of Study : Bcom Accounting
Year of Study: Second Year
Mamokete has always been a determined and hardworking student who had her eyes set on a fruitful career in the Accounting profession. Mamokete has always envisioned working as a Chartered Accountant and working in firms such as PWC and Earnest and Young. She was raised by both her parents whom she lived with. In 2016, while Mamokete was completing her Matric her parents separated, it caused a mental and financial distraction and strain in Mamokete’s life. Thereafter Mamokete’s only source of financial support was her mother who works as a nurse. Her mother’s earnings were not enough to pay for her tuition fees, in addition to the other responsibilities her mother shouldered as the sole bread winner of the family. This made Mamokete worry; her lifelong dream of becoming an Accountant was potentially threatened.
Although discouraged, Mamokete did not sit back. She thought of her uncle who is an inspiration to her, who despite difficult circumstances, qualified as a geologist. Later in 2016, Mamokete applied for the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation and she was accepted. With the support of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation Mamokete’s life changed. This has made a huge difference to Mamokete’s family as they were already going through a lot after their parents’ separation. As her way of giving back, Mamokete volunteers as a Mathematics tutor for two students and plans to help a minimum of at least two students to study at University level, once she starts working and earning a salary.
Mamokete is proactive when it comes to her studies, she asks for help when she needs it and studies in advance for all her tests and exams. She attributes her strength, positive attitude and persistence to the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation. Mamokete says the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation has liberated her financially long term; had she not received the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, she would have had to apply for a student loan and had to repay it with interest or she would have had to take a gap year to try gather funds with the assistance of other community and family members.
In Mamokete’s view, the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation is a great initiative for social development, as it grants access to higher education to the youth that cannot afford it but are brilliant academically.
Name: Lesedi Martha Ndlovu
Status : Current Student
Tertiary Institution: University of Witswatersrand, Johannesburg
Field of Study : Accounting Sciences
Year of Study: Second Year
Lesedi Ndlovu, the first born in a family of three siblings who lives in Naturena, Johannesburg with her mother and step father knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in numbers. Through the mentorship that she received in high school, she made the decision to study Accounting Sciences. Although she had the capability and the intelligence to pursue an Accounting Sciences degree, Lesedi was worried about how she would fund her studies because her mother was unemployed and there were additional financial constraints witin the household. Under these circumstances, Lesedi, with hope, proceeded to apply to various Universities and she was accepted for a degree in Accounting Sciences by the University of Witswatersrand.
Lesedi’s high-school mentor informed her of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, thereafter Lesedi applied for the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation and in 2017 she became a recipient and she commenced her Degree in Accounting Sciences. It was at this point in Lesedi’s life that she started to be more confindent and hopeful about the future.As a recipient of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, Lesedi never worries about what she is going to eat the next day, how her fees will be paid or how she will pay for her study material.
Once a year in January the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation hosts an assessemnt workshop where the recipients are evaluated and assessed on their academic performance, if they are coping with University life and their general well-being. Lesedi explains that the workshop also has elements of fun; she had never spent time at a hotel or set foot in Sandton City, although she grew up in Johannesburg. These were all incredible firsts for her that she will never forget them. To top it off, winning the highest achiever award for the 2017 academic year was a feeling and an experience she states motivates her to maintain her high academic standards. This has set the bar for her to challenge herself in her academic performance throughout the rest of her degree.
Lesedi is now in her second year of studies and she is excelling. In 2017, she was on the Dean’s merit list of 10% of the top performing students. Upon the completion of Lesedi’s studies she would like to pursue a career in Management Accounting. She says she understands the importance of ethical accounting management, and that she is constantly checking that her values remain intact and reflect the attributes that are valued in Management Accounting; integrity, objectivity, transparency and confidentiality.
Lesedi lives by this saying : “I can do this, even if I can’t. I have to.” She is proud of her work and grateful for the opportunity that the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation has given her. Her 2018 goal is to move up the Dean’s merit list. She intends to always remain in the top performing 10% of students. Once she completes her studies and starts working, Lesedi intends to take care of her siblings and to make sure that they, too, focus on creating a good life for themselves.
Name: Ntokozo Vilakazi
Status : Current Student
Tertiary Institution: University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban
Field of Study : Bcom Accounting
Year of Study: First Year
Ntokozo grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal where he and his siblings were raised by his mother. As the eldest son in the family, Ntokozo had many responsibilities, almost as though he was the head of the family. As a result to this, Ntokozo could not enjoy much of his childhood like children in his age group. As Ntokozo was approaching Matric, it became evident that a crucial point of his life (which was studying beyond Matric) required a significant amount of money; money that Ntokozo’s family did not have. When Ntokozo heard about the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, he saw this as an opportunity to fulfil his dream of becoming an Accountant.
In 2017, Ntokozo was awarded the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation and he began his course is Bcom Accounting at the University of Cape Town. At first, this was an exciting venture for Ntokozo: moving to a new city and the prospects of making new friends. As Ntokozo commenced his academic year he struggled to find his footing, he had no friends and was struggling to fit into his surroundings. As a result to this he became depressed and his depression affected his academic performance. Ntokozo did not perform according to the standards of his excellent Matric results and the academic expectations of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation. Ntokozo feared that because he did not meet the academic requirements of the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation he would cease to be a recipient.
To Ntokozo's surprise, the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation panel took the time to scrutinize his circumstances and to understand the challenges he was facing at the University of Cape Town. They understood that culture fit was essential for a student to obtain a degree. The Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation panel therefore made a decision to keep funding Ntokozo’s studies. In order to help him to perform better, and as per his request, Ntokozo relocated back to his home town. He is now studying at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and doing very well. Ntokozo says he is inspired by the panel members who decided that he deserved a second chance. Their genuine act of humility has inspired him to also help others.
In addition to completing his qualification and improving his family’s financial circumstances, Ntokozo is working on improving his social skills; he understands that life will not always give him a second chance. To excel in his profession, Ntokozo is also working on improving his English vocabulary.
Ntokozo looks forward to a bright future, and is grateful to the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation for helping him achieve his dreams.