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Financial Assistance

Financial Aid success stories

Mzoxolo Sitoto

BSocSc in Politics and Social Anthropology

Raised by his mother in the township of Philippi in Cape Town, Mzoxolo Sitoto was encouraged to study by his father, a cleaner at UCT who would talk about how good it would be to study at the university. “But I didn’t think I’d be able to go to university, because it’s so expensive.”

Today, thanks to UCT Financial Aid, Mzoxolo is studying towards a Bachelor of Social Science degree, majoring in politics and social anthropology. His real goal is to enter the legal fraternity one day and he hopes that this training will give him the skills and learning ability to register for a law degree in the near future.

“My dream is to become a lawyer, perhaps a high court judge – I see people on TV wearing those gowns and want to be like them, and I think my personality fits the job – I’m a talkative person, a problem solver. Receiving allowances from UCT has helped me on the way to realising these ambitions.”

While still in high school, Mzoxolo benefited from Inkanyezi – a volunteer-based programme at UCT, which helps disadvantaged high school learners to access tertiary education. After being accepted by UCT, Mzoxolo joined the programme as his way of showing gratitude to an initiative that helped him on his road. He hopes to "pay it forward" by giving his time to the community he comes from, so that learners may receive the same kind of support he did.

Masibulele Tyobeka

BSocSc in Organisational Psychology

Raised in Khayelitsha in Cape Town, Masibulele Tyobeka loves working with people. This is what inspired his choice of degree - a Bachelor of Social Science in Organisational Psychology. Thanks to UCT Financial Aid, Masibulele today is in his second year of study.

“My widowed mum has already sacrificed a lot to give me opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had, but she couldn’t afford to pay for my tuition fees. With the allowances that I receive from UCT, I’ve been able to study at one of the greatest universities in South Africa; so the aid has greatly increased my chances of getting my dream job.”

Social development is close to Masibulele’s heart. Juggling many hats, including a demanding academic schedule, he is using his time at university to lend a helping hand. He has joined the Information Technology and Material Development section of Inkanyezi, a volunteer-based programme at UCT, and uses this opportunity to give back to learners from disadvantaged communities. He also worked as an Open-Day student assistant at UCT's Admissions Office, where he delivered motivational talks to grade 12 learners who aspire to study at UCT. “I’m very proud to be a student on UCT Financial Aid – without it I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Zayaan Farouk

BA in Fine Arts

An aficionado of Japanese animation, Zayaan Farouk from Ottery, Cape Town, was inspired by her father to pursue her passion and become an animator. Thanks to UCT Financial Aid Zayaan is currently acquiring skills that will help her fulfil this dream someday. She is in her third year of studying towards a BA degree in Fine Arts and hopes to become a graphic designer and animator.

“Without UCT Financial Aid I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this degree. I receive a grant, and a travel allowance that enables me to get to and from the campus, in addition to access to the Wellness Centre and a book allowance. UCT Financial Aid has helped me so much on my way to achieving my dream.”

Through its expanded financial aid system, UCT gives students a chance of changing their future. For Zayaan this is something she takes to heart. She hopes to be able to give back someday and teach at her old art school. “My love for art was nurtured by my former teachers – some of whom are now my lecturers at UCT. Through their hard work, constructive criticism, love and support, I was able to reach my goal of becoming a UCT Michaelis student.”

Mpho Gegana

BSc (Hons) Geographic Information Systems

Born in Thohoyandou in the Limpopo Province, Mpho Gegana is literally living his dream. Thanks to UCT Financial Aid, he was the first member of his family to graduate from university. His favourite subject in high school was geography, and today Mpho holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental & Geographical Sciences and Ocean & Atmosphere Sciences from UCT. He is currently registered for an honours degree in Geographic Information Systems at the university.

“I enjoyed geography in high school and I enjoy it now because the subject is not exclusively scientific; there are social aspects about it too. And when you combine the scientific and the social, you can make a big difference in people’s lives.”

Aware of how much assistance is needed in disadvantaged communities, Mpho signed up for Inkanyezi, a volunteer-based programme at UCT which helps disadvantaged high school learners to access tertiary education. Here he used the knowledge he acquired at UCT to help high school learners obtain information about universities and funding opportunities. Mpho is also a mentor at UCT's Golden Key community development initiative where he plays a “big brother” role to learners and offers them guidance.

“UCT Financial Aid has made a very significant impact on my life. It covered all my UCT fees throughout my degree and helped me to pay for rent, food, tuition and books; plus, I’ve been able to save some of the money for vacation periods. Being the eldest in my family, I come from a place with limited role models; so, I hope to inspire my siblings with what I’ve achieved. Without UCT Financial Aid I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Noluyolo Ngomani

BA in Film and Media Production

Her first love was always literature; yet Eastern Cape-born Noluyolo Ngomani took to radio production with great ease and today job-shadows at a prominent Cape Town commercial radio station. A third-year BA student majoring in Film and Media Production, Noluyolo grew up in a single-parent household. When she passed matric, she was anxious about being granted admission to university, but even more worried about financing her studies.

“My mom is a single parent and I wasn’t sure she could afford my university fees. So when I heard about UCT Financial Aid, I immediately applied. It’s helped me in so many ways. It pays my fees and I get a monthly allowance to buy books.”

But financing university study is not only about being able to pay for tuition and books; there are other incidental costs that students must contend with, including health and wellness. Students on UCT Financial Aid receive free consultation at the campus’s Student Wellness Centre.

Noluyolo is committed to sharing her passion and love for radio with others, through mentoring and tutoring classmates who need help. Because of UCT Financial Aid, the anxiety of financing her studies was lifted and Noluyolo is able to focus on acquiring the knowledge and skills she needs to help others tell their stories. “Now in my final year, I wouldn’t have got this far without UCT Financial Aid.”