Blind NSFAS student spared homelessness


WAY FORWARD: Wits student Sisanda Msekele is now able to register for her PhD after receiving financial assistance from the university. Photo: Provided.

Sisanda Msekele, an anthropology masters student, faced homelessness and debt of nearly R100 000 a week ago. But following an article in the Wits Vuvuzela about her plight, she has received financial assistance from Wits University and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), making it possible for her to remain in residence and register for her doctoral studies (PhD).

Professor Eric Worby, director of the Humanities Graduate Centre, with the help of Humanities Dean, Prof Ruksana Osman, have worked with the university to ensure Msekele’s outstanding fees of R96 299 are settled.  The fees accrued after the NSFAS ( National Student Financial Aid Scheme) failed to pay for one year.

“We were very sorry she found herself in this position,” Worby told Wits Vuvuzela. “This is hugely important to us, as she is one of our best students, and someone we want to support.”

Head of Anthropology, Dr Hylton White, who has been involved in assisting Msekele since November last year, said his department was not aware of how serious Msekele’s financial predicament was, but is “relieved that the problem could be resolved so quickly once it became apparent”.

Yesterday afternoon Msekele received the news that the DHET had provided additional funds to support her. This will be used to offset any outstanding debt. Msekele told Wits Vuvuzela that she is still waiting to hear what will happen with any money that is left over, but hoped that it could be used towards her PhD.

She said that she is overwhelmed and ecstatic. “You have no idea, I now sleep like a baby at night, I don’t expect someone to come and kick me out.”