“The financial support I received throughout my university studies allowed me the freedom to pursue what I love most.”
I came from Worcester with a bursary to study to become a mathematics teacher. Without a bursary, tertiary studies would not even have been an option, because my family was in no position to contribute to my studies. My late father was a glass cutter and my mom took care of the household.
My high school occasionally attended university open days, so when I first set foot on campus, it took me a really long time to get used to the ‘quietness’ all around me. The utopia of my university surroundings was in total contrast to the hustle and bustle of the Riverview Flats I grew up in. Street corner gang activity and stray bullets have always been the norm on the Flats, so moving to Stellenbosch to pursue tertiary education was an absolute shock to my system.
Bursaries played a critical role in my upbringing since my school days. When I was in high school, I received funding from the African Scholars Fund which I used towards buying books – this enabled me to expand my frame of reference beyond what was being taught in the classroom. When I came to Stellenbosch, my teaching bursary was my ticket to study towards a BComm degree in Mathematical Sciences. When I reached postgraduate studies, I was assisted by various funds and that meant that I could focus solely on my studies without the constant fear of where my next meal was going to come from.
No one in my family or that I knew well had been to university and could tell me about the journey I was about to undertake. What I had to learn quickly was how to make sure that I do not run out of bursary funds before the end of the academic year. Managing your bursary money is very important. It teaches you responsibility and to be accountable for when things go wrong.
The financial support I received throughout my university studies allowed me the freedom to pursue what I love most. I have this organic passion for mathematics that has been there ever since I can remember. Today I am living my dream and could not imagine it being any other way.