Mazwai is moving up

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Mvuyo Mati

Nomsa Mazwai, younger sister of Afro-Jazz songbird Thandiswa and poet Ntsiki, is following in her famed family's footsteps, but not in the arts.

At 21, Nomsa Mazwai, pictured right, was recently elected the first woman president of the University of Fort Hare students' representative council (SRC).

She told Sowetan that her priority was to push for more funding so that many disadvantaged students at university can profit while she is still at the helm.

Mazwai is critical of the unfair method used by the government in determining funding for tertiary institutions.

She says it fails to take into consideration the demographics of poor universities like Fort Hare.

She argues that Rhodes University, Nelson Mandela University and other institutions might be the same size as Fort Hare University, but funds should be allocated according to the number of students.

"The ratio of students who need financial aid is greater in Fort Hare than those at other institutions.

"Our piece of the cake is so small that we get the same cake as institutions that have fewer students,'' she says.

She has vowed that the newly-elected SRC will ensure that disadvantaged students get the money they deserve.

The SRC is targeting the private sector to solicit funding because many students cannot afford to pay their fees.

"Their [private sector] BEE commitment must be towards students' fees. If they do help they will be empowering the disempowered," she says.

Mazwai is passionate about the environment and has participated in cleaning campaigns in Nkonkobe and Amathole.

She says that during her tenure she will spearhead Aids awareness campaigns among students.