Namhla Tshisela and Siyabonga Africa
The future looks bleak for Thapedi Mashianoke of Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Mashianoke, 26, is partially sighted and is unable to complete a Bachelor of Music degree at Wits University.
He owes the university R3500 and cannot afford to further his studies this year.
"My parents are both unemployed and my student loan does not cover all my university expenses. A full scholarship would make my dream a reality," he said.
A beneficiary of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS), Mashianoke was last year forced to take drastic measures to make ends meet.
"I had to sell my car, electric piano and amplifiers so that I could pay a portion of my fees," Mashianoke said.
This left the aspirant pianist without an instrument with which to practice.
"It has been difficult for me to work without it and I cannot afford to buy one," he said.
Mashianoke also needs a portable computer with special software to write music, record and read lecture notes.
Sibongile Nkosi of Wits' financial aid department said the loan did not cover notes, society and parking fees and that Mashianoke would have to settle the outstanding amount.
Wits University's Student Representative Council president Themba Masondo said R7million had been set aside for students who could not afford tuition fees.
"The onus is on students to report to the SRC office in order to fill out a form that will state their financial situation," Masondo said.