Lungelwa Mkokeli was born in the Eastern Cape in 1992. She grew up as one of seven children, all raised by her hard-working mother who had only the help of national child support grants. Despite the difficult living conditions Lungelwa performed well in school, but her mother knew her educational options would be limited at her rural school. In 2005, her mother sent her to live with her uncle in Masiphumelele, where Lungelwa could attend the local high school.
It was a difficult time for Lungelwa, away from her siblings for the first time in her life and living in a simple shack with an uncle she did not know well. The level of crime and lack of space in the dense urban community was very different from her rural home. Despite these difficulties, she settled into her new school quickly and continued to excel at most subjects. She developed a keen interest in economics and business studies – subjects that were not available in her school in the Eastern Cape.
In 2010, Lungelwa completed high school. She had visited CPUT and UWC for career exhibitions and had begun to think seriously about the possibility of higher education. She knew of Masicorp from the establishment of the Masiphumelele library and the construction of several houses in the community. When advised by a friend that there was the possibility of a university bursary through Masicorp, she immediately applied. She briefly considered studying to be a teacher in order to give back to the local children, but ultimately her dreams lay in financial management and business studies.
Lungelwa was offered a place at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) to study for a National Diploma in Management in the Faculty of Business. After impressing us with her commitment to study, Masicorp accepted her onto the bursary programme. Once again it was a difficult transition to live away from home in student residences, and she regularly returned to Masiphumelele to visit her uncle. Her studies never suffered and she passed each examination. She even found time to be house committee representative for her residence during her second and third year of study.
We were delighted when Lungelwa graduated in 2012 and equally happy in March of this year when she secured employment with a financial company in Cape Town. She still lives with her uncle in Masiphumelele and remains a good friend of Masicorp. Eager to give back to the programme that has helped her succeed at university, she has kindly offered to use her financial expertise to manage our bursary loan book on a voluntary basis. Lungelwa has been remarkably successful and we are so pleased to have her helping our bursary team.