The scholarship was established to honour the memory and contribution made by slain anti-apartheid activist Dr Rick Turner to the discipline of political science at the University and his much wider contribution to civil society.
This year’s recipients are: Mr Zwelisha Mfishi, Ms Alandra Naidoo, Ms Nokukhanya Ngema, Mr Sthembiso Phoswa, Mr Lindokuhle Shandu, Ms Nokukhanya Zondi, Ms Nomfundo Sibisi and Ms Felicia Mashabane.
Mfishi said: ‘As a postgraduate student with no means of financial support this scholarship gives me the opportunity to excel in my studies. My next step in academia is to get my PhD in Social Work and to leave a footprint in life by becoming an influential person through acts of philanthropy. I believe it is only when we extend a helping hand that we are able to change the lives of others.’
Naidoo, who attended Queensburgh Girls’ High School in Durban, says she applied for the scholarship as a means to pay off her fees. ‘I tutor part time on campus but because I don’t live on campus, a large portion of my salary goes towards meeting travel costs rather than paying off fees and the costs of my Masters Research field work. The scholarship will now assist me with my career goals and life.’
Naidoo plans to complete her PhD and start a NGO supporting children’s rights and the end of baby dumping. A job within the United Nations or human rights sector is also a possibility.
Masters student in Child Care and Protection, Zondi said: ‘I am the first in my family to attain this level of education and one of the few in my community to do so. My underprivileged background has fuelled my ambition for success. As a black rural girl, this scholarship means my family income status does not determine my goals. My mother is a pensioner, my father is a security guard and I have six siblings so as a family we could not afford to pay my university debt. I’m so grateful for the scholarship.’
She plans to be a social worker and to open a career centre in her hometown of Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal,
Criminology and Forensic Studies student Shandu of Inanda at first relied on his grandmother’s pension to buy food but he is now a tutor on the Pietermaritzburg campus and uses the money he earns for groceries and his family’s needs. The scholarship will support his master’s research in terms of equipment and travel costs. ‘I am truly humbled by this scholarship and I hope that the scholarship funders will continue changing the lives of many aspiring academics, leaders and researchers of this generation and future generations.’
Shandu plans to pursue careers in Forensic Investigation and Psychology/Psychotherapy, in addition to lecturing.
For Sibisi, the scholarship will help pay off her tuition historical debt. ‘Education is of great value to me and I take it very seriously. To be given the opportunity to study further is of great importance and I intend to go as far as I possibly can with it and complete my master’s degree this year.’ She considers scholarships important ‘because they recognises our community service and academic excellence, encouraging us to continue doing what we love’. Sibisi plans to do her PhD in social work and to make a mark in the academic and humanitarian world, to be an inspiration to others and to promote unionism.
Phoswa says UKZN is a highly-ranked institution in Africa and that reputation was a factor in his decision to study at the University. ‘As a person who loves contributing to the production of knowledge, I believe studying social work will help me develop skills to spread good in society.’ He considers the scholarship as vital to help students from disadvantaged families pay their tuition or residence fees and to conduct research. Phoswa plans to complete a PhD in social work and become a lecturer.