HE FINISHED matric with no hope for his future.
But then Nkosithandile Shologu, 24, was awarded a bursary by the Cape Times Bursary Fund and his life changed forever.
He currently works as a teacher at a secondary school in the Free State.
“By the time I finished matric, I was hopeless. My life was in darkness,” he said.
While in school, Shologu did his homework and studied for exams with music blaring into his room from the tavern next door. He lived with his older, unemployed brother and knew there was no money for further study.
After being awarded the bursary, Shologu enrolled at the University of the Western Cape in 2009 to study for a BSc degree in Mathematics and Statistical Science.
He graduated last year, the first person in his family to attend university.
The Cape Times Bursary Fund assists pupils from impoverished areas through the Association for Educational Transformation.
Born in the Eastern Cape, Shologu moved to Khayelitsha with his older brother in 2000.
Shologu said that, through tutoring maths to other students at university, he fell in love with education and wanted to help others.
He now teaches Grade 10 and 11 maths classes at Senakangwedi Secondary School in Botshabelo, about 50km from Bloemfontein.
Shologu found being a teacher difficult at first because classes were big and pupils were reluctant to speak up when they were falling behind. He decided to test pupils more regularly to see where pupils were struggling.
“I set more class tests to see the progress. So I can see which section I can revisit.”
Shologu said he initially struggled to fit in with his new community. “It was very difficult. People speak a different language. I struggled to communicate with people.”
Now, he is beginning to learn the language and socialise with his neighbours.
Shologu started there in March last year and is expected to complete his contract at the end of this year.
He is considering two options for his future – to study further through Unisa or join the Actuarial Society of SA to begin the process of becoming an actuary.
Shologu said the Cape Times Bursary Fund had “helped very much” and had assisted many others. “It helped many pupils to study and give them direction in life.” Established in 1982, the fund was launched against a background of an urgent, growing need for skilled people in South Africa and a lack of opportunity for higher education among the larger section of the community.
Association for Educational Transformation executive director Robbie Gow-Kleinschmidt said matriculants from disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape were given funds for tuition, fees, books and transport. A total of 507 graduates had benefited in 29 years and 30 students would be supported this year.