FIRST-year Economic Sciences student Ronewa Aluwani Bengani says he feels let down by the Dj S’bu education fund, set up to help needy students gain access to tertiary institutions.
Bengani said the Sbusiso Leope Education Fund (SLEF) promised him a full scholarship for being a top achiever when the popular media personality visited his high school, Graceland Education Centre, early last year.
“Dj S’bu came and said the top three students would get a bursary,” said Bengani, who scored three distinctions, including one for Maths, in his Matric finals. Bengani said he not been contacted by the fund since.
Wits Vuvuzela was unable to get comment from SLEF after a week of phone calls to both its communications manager, Itumeleng Sekhu, as well as project manager of the fund Themba Thebe.
When Wits Vuvuzela telephoned Bengani’s high school, a Mbuso Cele, who introduced himself as teacher liaison at Graceland Education Centre, said Dj S’bu’s SLEF did not guarantee scholarships.
“Last year they were meant to give us four scholarships (for 2014 students) but that hasn’t happened. We phoned them last week and they said they are still in the process,” Cele said.
A former learner at the same school and recipient of the “SLEF scholarship”, Reitumestse Motsweneng, now in her second year of a BAccSci, told a different story from Bengani’s of her experiences with SLEF fund.
“SLEF only distributes the funds, it doesn’t come from his (Dj S’bu) pocket. I am with KPMG now. They introduced me to KPMG,” Motsweneng said, emphasising the fund’s intermediary role.
The 19-year-old from Phumula in the East Rand passed her matric with distinctions in Accounting, Economics and Life Orientation, as well scoring a “B” for Maths and Business.
During her mid-year exams in 2012, Motsweneng’s mother passed away, leaving only her father to fend for her and her younger brother, without enough money to fund her “dream” to go to Wits. The teachers at her high school volunteered to raise the R10 000 needed to pay the registration after Motsweneng received her confirmation letter from Wits. But it was after Cele learnt of her predicament that her place as a Witsie was secured.
“Bab’ Cele heard that Dj Sbu was around, so he went to Thembisa High where S’bu was speaking and told him my story… that’s how S’bu intervened and introduced me to KPMG,” Motsweneng said.
Her KPMG bursary pays for her tuition as well as accommodation near the university, the latter being something Motsweneng took a while to warm up to.
“When I moved into res it was the saddest day of my life. They don’t allow males into the res so my dad had to stay outside.
My roommate’s mother was in the room fixing it, putting in curtains, and really making it a home.”
Motsweneng said that scene in her first home away from home made her realise the massive gap her mother’s death had left in her life.