Last weekend we had the chance to meet up with the new and existing bursary students and find out how their first few weeks of study at university was progressing. The first social event of the new academic year was a picnic on the fields of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) campus in Belville. Events such as this allow the students to meet each other and share their experiences as they are otherwise spread out at campuses and residences across the city. There were one or two comments from the new students who, after three weeks of study, were just starting to realize how different to high school their university courses will be.
Being able to meet and mix with the students from the years above them is a big help for the newcomers and several of the new recruits were given advice by the existing students. The 2014 intake is very much the opposite of the 2013 intake, which saw four female students and just one male student join the program. This year there are four male students and just one female. The courses they have selected are also very different.
Simthembile Mlindi is studying Mechanical Engineering at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) to satisfy his passion for designing and building devices. His friend, Siphoxolo Melamane, is also at CPUT, but because he is studying agriculture he is based at their rural campus in Wellington rural campus in Wellington – a first for the program.
The other new students are based at UWC. Siviwe Makeleni is studying law, with a long term view to bring justice to local communities and tackle the corruption issues that are endemic in South Africa. Phumlani Mtshawuli was initially interested in teaching but has ultimately decided to study social work. Yolandi Sigodi is the sole female student and is taking biotechnology, which has been a popular option in recent years. She has several older students on the program that she can turn to for advice.
On a roasting hot summers afternoon it was a great turnout with 12 of the existing students taking time out to join us. Thanks must go to Masicorp volunteer Elize Taylor (seen here amongst the students) for coordinating the event, shuttling various students to and from residences and providing a large hamper of goodies.