Wits Sport launched a new transformation fund last week.

WITS UNIVERSITY has launched a new sports fund for black students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Wits Sports Transformation Fund was officially launched on Thursday, August 17 by the Vice-Chancellor, Adam Habib and the Head of Wits Sport, Adrian Carter.

The first bursary was awarded to Sisipho Magwaza, a Grade 12 hockey player who has played for the national and provincial hockey teams.

The fund was started by Wits Sport in order to facilitate accessibility for disadvantaged black students who would otherwise be unable to afford the university’s tuition. Carter says that the idea came about when he joined Wits in 2014 and noticed that the biggest sports bursary was a little amount, ranging from R3 000 and R5 000, and was not nearly enough to cover tuition. The transformation fund will now cover all tuition, accommodation and sport-related costs.

“One of the main principles was to find a mechanism that afforded quality opportunities for black student athletes, many of whom are excluded because of costs, thereby increasing the pool from which a provincial and national sporting system could select,” said Carter.

The criteria for the bursary application is that the students must be black athletes, from a disadvantaged background and must meet the necessary academic requirements for acceptance into the university as well as leadership qualities.

“Many talented black student athletes with sporting and academic potential to gain entry into Wits were unable to accept our previous offers due to financial constraints and much larger bursaries elsewhere,” Carter added.

The fund has R15 million that was contributed by Wits Sport and they are approaching other corporate donors that will make the funding pool bigger and provide bursaries to more students.
“R15 million is now in a Pooled Equity Fund (called the Wits Sport Transformation Fund), of which 85% of the interest will be used annually to provide bursaries and make a meaningful difference in young people’s lives,” said Carter.

He also added that he hopes that this initiative will also be adopted by other universities in the country and that students that benefit from this fund will in future give back.