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Friday, 06 May 2011

Chairperson of Council launches bursary fund, pledges Council stipend to students with disabilities

His early struggles as a university student desperate to source funding for his studies have inspired CPUT Chairperson of Council, Mr Mbulelo Bikwani, to establish a fund for students in need, particularly students with disabilities. He has also pledged his Council stipend for this cause. The fund, which has thus far raised well over R250 000, was launched recently in Gugulethu at a Thanksgiving and Gratitude Ceremony to mark Mr Bikwani’s appointment as Chairman of CPUT ‘s Council.

CPUT Chairperson of Council, Mr Mbulelo Bikwani, (centre) in Gugulethu at a Thanksgiving and Gratitude Ceremony to mark his appointment as Council Chair and celebrate the launch of his bursary fund.

“During my student days, I literally went around to people that I knew, some of them friends, with a begging cap, asking for money to study,” said Mr Bikwani. “Begging is something that undermines and compromises your dignity, but I was desperate for an education and knew that to achieve this I would have to swallow my pride. Having experienced first-hand the struggle to finance my education, when I became Chairman of Council I knew I couldn’t accept such a prestigious role without initiating a project to make a difference in the lives of students.” The fund is named after one of Mr Bikwani’s generous supporters when he was an impoverished student, Mgcobisi Moffat Ngcebetsha.  

Among the first donors of the fund are the current Rector and Vice-Chancellor of CPUT, Prof Lineo Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, Mr Wande Madikane, Mr and Mrs Roger Smith, Mr and Mrs Xolisa Mnyanda, Mr and Mrs Mashilo Mokotong, Mr and Mrs Mike Salter, Prof and Mrs Johannes Cronje, Mr and Mrs Sisa Rafuza, Mr Abram Luruli, Mr and Mrs Mandla Maxongo, Mr Paul Boughey, Dr Patti Wickens and Mr Mlamli Magqwaka.

Dr Mlungisi Kwini, whom with his wife, Dr Miranda Kwini, pledged the incredibly generous anchor funding of R200 000 said, “When Mbu (Mbulelo) spoke to me he mentioned education – and education is everything to me. If you have education you can never be poor, and I talk here from experience not from theory. I grew up looking after someone else’s goats for a living whilst I was at school. For that reason, I’ve asked Mbu how much they’ve raised and he told me that it was R150 000, including my initial pledge of R100 000. I have decided to make this a nice round figure of a quarter of a million, bringing the kitty to R250 000”.

During the Thanksgiving service, the Reverend Dr. Baartman prayed for the University Council to, “enjoy the privilege of building an institution that will serve the nation with determination, honesty and excellence. We pray for the educators, that they will find a sense of joy and fulfillment in their vocation, spiritually, intellectually and materially”. Reverend Professor Lizo Jaftha prayed that the new bursary fund serve as a blessing to many who are in need. ”We also pray that many will help in growing this fund. May those who will serve as administrators of this fund do so faithfully, with a sense of empathy for those who are in great need,” he concluded.

By Thami Nkwanyane

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za