Today we celebrate the achievements of Micaela Ashleigh Campher, Nontsizi Jacqualine Congwane, Jantjie Duiker, Joel Lebogang Maruping, Mothling Lebogang Moleta, Keaobaka Patrick Mosemeng, Kopano Percyval Motlapele, Conrad Charlston Obaray, Dineo Felicity Scott, Handry Philani Xulu. Without even realising it, these ten young people have made history as the first ever recipients of the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund at the new Sol Plaatje University right here in Kimberley.
These young, vibrant, intellectuals are joining hundreds of other youth from poor and rural families who have successfully enrolled into various institutions of higher learning across the country, thanks to the National Youth Development Agency’s (NYDA) Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund in partnership with the National Skills Fund.
They will join the existing 230 recipients who have completed their first year of study during 2014. This means that for 2015 alone, the Presidential Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund will be funding 373 students who have excelled in their studies. "The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund is a product of the NYDA's new focus on education and skills development and was officially launched by President Jacob Zuma in 2013. It is a flagship programme of the NYDA, designed to foster excellence in education,” said NYDA Executive Chairperson, Yershen Pillay.
“The NYDA has partnered with the National Skills Fund in order to roll out this important programme. We also have the NYDA Second Chance Matric Re-write programme in partnership with the ETDP Seta which has supported almost 5 000 youth in this year alone and just recently the NYDA signed a partnership with the Energy and Water Seta that will lead to the mainstreaming of skills development for young people in the energy and waters services sectors."
The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund provides financial support to young people who have intentions of pursuing full-time degrees and diplomas in courses that fall within the priority growth sectors as well as the critical and scarce skills areas outlined in the labour planning frameworks of the country.
According to Pillay, “This scholarship is automatically renewed on an annual basis provided that the student continues to achieve outstanding results. It is one of the very few scholarships in the country that provides financial support for the entire duration of a student’s degree or diploma.
It is however a two-way street and so we expect those who receive the scholarship to continue excelling in theirstudies if they are to keep their scholarship. In this way, the NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund is designed to foster excellence by complementing the work of NSFAS which is designed to promote access based on need.
The NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund, has since 2014, grown to a R30 million scholarship fund and assists deserving South African youth who meet the minimum entry requirements set by the NYDA. The scholarship covers all costs of study which includes tuition, books, meals and accommodation.
The scholarship was conceptualised in honour of the late struggle icon, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, a young member of Umkhonto Wesizwe, who was wrongfully arrested and executed at the age of 23 under apartheid laws.
"The legacy of Solomon Mahlangu lives on through the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship and the legacy of Sol Plaatje continues at the Sol Plaatje University.
We will never forget their great sacrifices for all that we have today," said Pillay.
Students who are considered for the scholarship are those who have been accepted to register in the following fields of study:
• Development Studies
• Supply Chain Management
"Our vision is to grow this scholarship fund into the largest on the continent.
We are therefore calling on the private sector and public sector to invest in excellence by investing in the NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund,” he said.