It is so heart-warming to see, even in the most difficult of times, a student that appreciates the great privilege it has now become to have access to a tertiary education as a black financially underprivileged South African. With mixed emotions, Papama, a senior student in the Faculty of Arts who has requested to leave her surname unmentioned, shared her story of the struggles she had to overcome to find herself back at NMMU in 2015.
“I was so sure that Varsity was not meant for me just weeks ago,” she said on her first day back on campus, four weeks into the first block of lectures of the first semester. Papama just had her tuition debt settled by the institution’s Bailout Fund, of which she was informed by the NMMU SRC via social media. After having tried her hardest with no luck to get funding for her education, she had given up and accepted that she was no longer an NMMU student. “Until I received an sms from Financial Aid informing me that my Bailout Fund application had been approved and my debt from last year would be cleared. I cried my lungs out in disbelief,” she said with tears threatening her eyes.
Immediately after learning that she could forget about her debt from 2014 she left her Butterworth home where she lives with her family of six heading straight to Port Elizabeth. As excited as she was, she still needed to have her late registration fee paid before she could register for the year 2015, “but I wasn’t even worried about that because at least it wasn’t as bad as before my debt was cleared and I knew my mother would make a plan,” she said.
“I honestly am very thankful for how supportive the SRC has been throughout my difficulties and I would like to encourage other students who weren’t as lucky as I was to keep holding on because their chance might come at a time when they least expect it. And to those who are more privileged, I urge them to appreciate every second of it and study hard,” she concluded, walking to the library to follow her own advice of studying hard.