Imizamo Yethu students graduate against all odds


Three students from Imi-zamo Yethu, who are part of the Rotary Club of Hout Bay’s bursary initiative, have graduated despite having to overcome tough personal circumstances.

One of them is Ncedo Jako, 22, who graduated last Friday, April 15 with a radiography diploma from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

Mr Jako is happy about his achievement. “The fact that I am a graduate means a lot to me. It means that I can now, not only provide for myself, but for my family as well. It means that I have fulfilled my mom’s dreams of having a graduate in our immediate family.”

He added that he turned his challenges into opportunities. “Growing up in Imizamo Yethu has been very difficult over the years. From electricity cut-offs to shacks burning and losing everything. Not forgetting the rainy season when we had to put bowls on top of the bed so it does not get wet. It was up to me to turn those challenges into opportunities that could make me someone one day.”

Mr Jako was recommended by Juan Julius, principal of Hout Bay High, who is asked each year to identify his best performing or deserving students for the Rotary club to interview.

One of the other bursary beneficiaries graduated with a diploma in graphic design from CPUT and is currently doing a three-month internship in Switzerland. The third beneficiary graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of the Western Cape.

Keith Bull, director of vocational services for Rotary Club of Hout Bay, who runs the bursary initiative, said it started six years ago. They now have 14 students at university and colleges. The initiative only assists South African students from Hout Bay.

The bursary contributes R30 000 annually toward their education for the duration of their studies.

Mr Bull said that students are expected to earn money through other means too.

“We expect the students to find the balance from other sources including their own savings, working, student loans or other bursaries. We offer a ‘hand up’ not a ‘hand out.’”

The Rotary club also provides the students with a mentor for the duration of their studies as well as developmental workshops.

“We provide help in managing their financial affairs, writing CVs and interview techniques for getting a job. We also look to build inter-personal skills,” said Mr Bull.