NYDA’s Solomon Mahlangu scholarship fund makes dreams a reality

Over 200 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can today be counted among thousands who will this year enrol in various institutions of higher learning across the country, thanks to the National Youth Development Agency’s (NYDA) inaugural Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund.

Established by the NYDA in late 2013 the R20-million Scholarship Fund was officially launched by President Jacob Zuma during March 2014. During the launch the NYDA also unveiled the first group of beneficiaries of the Scholarship Fund.  The Fund is a partnership between the NYDA and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) with the NYDA committing R10 million and DHET contributing R10 million.

The Scholarship Fund provides financial support to young people who have been accepted to pursue full-time degrees in courses that fall within the priority growth sectors and critical and scarce skills areas as outlined in the labour planning frameworks of the country.

According to Yershen Pillay, “The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund is an initiative very close to my heart. As the NYDA we want to make it our mission to make the scholarship fund, the biggest on the continent, to benefit deserving South African youth who meet the minimum entry requirements set by the NYDA. I would like to congratulate the recipients of 2014 and urge them to continue achieving great strides towards becoming skilled professionals.”

The Scholarship Fund covers 100% costs of the student’s studies, including tuition, books, meals and accommodation.

The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund is in honour of the late struggle icon, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, a young member of Umkhonto Wesizwe who was wrongfully arrested and in 1979, aged 23, executed under apartheid laws. Students who will be considered for the scholarship are those who have been accepted to register in the following fields of study ICT, Law, Engineering, Development Studies among others.

Scholarship recipient, Ntsako Shiringani, 24 is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Finance. Ntsako completed her matric in 2007 in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. After which she studied IT through a college last year, five years after leaving high school, Ntsako decided to go back to high school to redo her matric. She exchanged her fancy clothes for a full school uniform to sit at a  desk among learners much younger than her. “I had not passed well in 2007 which is why I ended up going to a college to pursue something that I had no interest in. But I realised that I was not happy, this was not what I wanted to do as a career so I made the biggest decision of my life. I went back to high school, this time I chose Mathematics as a subject and studied very hard.”

Ntsako passed all her subjects, five of them with distinction, “I’m now older and more focused, I decided to fix my own mess and it is slowly paying off. I’m adjusting to campus life now all I want to do is pass well and od the NYDA proud for investing in me,” says Ntsako. She is the first person in her family to go to university.