Matrics get a leg up with bursaries

Prime Nchabeleng, 19, celebrates at home in Diepsloot after receiving a bursary from the Gauteng government. /SANDILE NDLOVU
Prime Nchabeleng, 19, celebrates at home in Diepsloot after receiving a bursary from the Gauteng government. /SANDILE NDLOVU

Prime Nchabeleng will enjoy his own bedroom and privacy for the first time - thanks to being admitted to university.

The Diepsloot teenager is one of the 13,000 beneficiaries of bursaries awarded by the Gauteng government last week.

For the better part of his life, Nchabeleng, 19, has shared a rented room with his unemployed mother and three siblings.

He was one of the top three performers at Sgodiphola secondary school in Cosmo City, near Randburg.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and premier David Makhura awarded bursaries to the top three performing pupils from all schools participating in the department's improvement programme for no-fee schools across the province.

Nchabeleng said he was "very stressed" for the most part of his schooling last year as he did not know who was going to pay for his university studies. He knew that education was the only key to secure a better life for him.

"I knew that the only way out of poverty was to focus on my books and give it my all."

Nchabeleng will now study chemical engineering at Wits University and plans to buy his mother a big house and take care of his siblings once he completes his studies.

Another recipient was Amanda Senzela, 18, from Cosmo City.

She is the eldest child and both parents are unemployed.

"I am very happy about this bursary because it will change my life for the better.

"Growing up, my dream was to study law at Wits University ... and that will come true this year," she said.

Sowetan also spoke to another former beneficiary of the bursary programme, Bridgette Mahlangu, 23, who is now the proud owner of a jewellery company.

"This opportunity has opened many doors for me. I never thought I would go overseas but my school, The Cullinan Jewellery [school] made it possible for me," she said.

Makhura warned the recipients about possible dangers they may face at institutions of higher learning.

"If you will focus and put your best into your work, you will succeed. We want you to complete your degrees and diplomas on time," Makhura said.

Each of the recipients received a four-year bursary to study at the institution of their choice.

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