Thirty female first-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) students at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine are elated recipients of Frene Ginwala Scholarships.

The scholarship is an entrant equity award that supports top Black African female entrants to the University in all disciplines. It is named after UKZN’s first Chancellor and a former Speaker of Parliament.

The 30 recipients are: Miss Londeka Faith Dhlamini; Sithobele Nokwethemba Dlamini; Anele Penelope Dlungwane; Mayenziwe Gumede; Yolanda Noluthando Hadebe; Zikhona Katywa; Zanele Khawula; Lungile Nompumelelo Kunene; Nontobeko Luthuli; Samukelisiwe Madondo; Simphiwe Thembelihle Malinga; Lindela Nompilo Mbatha; Silindokuhle Sinothile Mbhamali; Thandolwethu Mdletshe; Nokwanda Sphephile Mkhwanazi; Hlengiwe Londi Myeni; Natasha Amahle Ndawo; Amahle Ndlovu; Lwandile Ngubo; Sthabile Ncamsile Ngwenya; Nokubonga Sisi Precious Nsele; Nqubeko Lamulile Ntshangase; Ntombizonke Londeka Sibisi; Sithembokuhle Sethabile Sibiya; Langanani Tshivhase; Hlengeka Neliswa Vezi; Balungile Vundla; Zovuyo Xhante; Asanda Snenhlanhla Zulu; and Sarah Abena Zulu.

Xhante, whose home is in Bizana in the Eastern Cape, said, ‘I feel honoured and blessed to have received the scholarship. My family are also proud of me. The scholarship means I will worry less about financial issues and focus more on my studies.’

Mkhwanazi (18) from Mtubatuba commented: ‘This scholarship motivates me to work even harder.’ She advised fellow students not to give up in the face of hardship as it will be worthwhile in the end.

‘I would like to say a big thank you to the funders and may they continue to do a great job,’ said Sarah from Umlazi, Durban.

Mbhamali, who hails from Nongoma, said: ‘My family is so proud of me because I am their hope and they believe that one day I will change my home situation and bring about a better life. They are also very supportive.’

Khawula from Gamalakhe, Port Shepstone said she was overwhelmed with joy when she received an email informing her that she had been awarded the scholarship. ‘The scholarship has given me strength to pursue my dreams and look forward to a better future. What also keeps me firm is my relationship with God, as I come from a religious family.’

Also from Gamalakhe, Dhlamini commented that, ‘I feel fortunate and blessed and also happy that our efforts at school are recognised. After I have completed my degree in Medicine, I hope to specialise in neurology.’

Nsele from Mpangeni said: ‘I am extremely happy knowing that I will be able to break the cycle of poverty in my family. What keeps me going is the desire and drive to be a good doctor one day so as to set an example in my community.’

‘My future plans are to complete the course and continue to study to be a cardiologist. Knowing that there are people who care about my future and are willing to offer support is a blessing,’ said Katywa from Bizana.

Sithobele Dlamini, whose home is in Jozini is grateful for the scholarship and plans on making a difference, not just to her family, but her community. She hopes to specialise in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and plans to travel the world one day and help wherever she can.

‘I feel honoured to be one of the scholarship recipients. It always feels so good when one is acknowledged for one’s hard work. It motivates me to stay focused so that I will be able to achieve my goal, be an agent of change and help people, especially those that reside in disadvantaged communities like Ladysmith where I come from,’ commented Sibisi.

Mdletshe from Mpangeni said: ‘I want to finish my MBChB in record time and give back to my community. In the future, I also want to afford other students the same chance by contributing financially towards their studies because many Black students do not make it to university, not because they lack the capacity but because they lack finances.’

Hadebe from Woodlands in Durban is honoured to receive this award. ‘I am grateful to God and the hard work I put in to get good marks for my matric. I would advise my fellow students to remember that life, is not about competing with those around you, it is about competing with yourself to make sure that you’re doing better than yesterday.’

Ndawo who lives in kwaNdengezi, Durban said that her ‘future plans include becoming a pediatrician. After Medical school, I would like to travel through Africa with Doctor without Borders in order to help those who cannot afford medical care.’

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal