‘I feel honoured and blessed to have been awarded such a prestigious scholarship,’ said Pharmacy student, Ms Naheeda Ebrahim, the recipient of the Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship.

The Scholarship is awarded to the five top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from first-year to second-year of study in each of the four Colleges. The recipients are therefore the top students among several thousand colleagues in each College of the University.

‘My family is very proud of me and are delighted that such an honour has been bestowed upon me,’ said the elated Ebrahim.

The Mpumalanga-born Ebrahim completed her matric at Hoerskool Piet Retief. She said being so far away from home increased the cost of studying at a tertiary institution. ‘This scholarship gives me the freedom to pursue my studies without having to worry about putting my parents through any additional costs,’ she said.

Once she is certain of which field of Pharmacy she would like to explore, she intends to pursue as many qualifications as she can in that field, ‘After I have earned my degree. I aim to use these qualifications to give back to the community in whichever way I can.’

Her ambition to qualify and become an independent woman keeps her going. She advised her fellow students to stay focused and to keep their eyes on their goals, ‘Every degree is difficult and it’s easy to get side-tracked,’ she advised.

She thanked the funders of the scholarship for honouring her with the award, ‘Thank you for creating an award that gives students the ability to achieve their dreams without having to worry about their financial status.’

Ebrahim is the youngest of three children. Her sister is a qualified pharmacist, her brother is the secretary of the Ziaee Charitable Organisation, her mother is an author and her father is a businessman.

Ebrahim loves reading and regularly proofreads her mother’s books and articles. She also enjoys doing various puzzles and activities that keep her mind busy.

‘My religion is very important to me and I try to base all my decisions on its principles. I also love spending time with my family especially babysitting my niece and nephews,’ she said.

Ebrahim is not involved in any sport, however, she spends a lot of her spare time working with the Ziaee Charitable Organisation in the various weekly feeding schemes, at Bonela Orphanage, George Hill and Clare Estate informal settlements.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal