HE WENT to school in Mowbray and every day watched students from nearby UCT walking past on their way to and from classes.
Odwa Siyamthanda Peter dreamt he would be one of those students. Peter, 19, is now a second year electrical engineering student at the Cape Town campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He is funded by the Cape Times Bursary Fund which is administered by the Association for Educational Transformation (Asset).
Peter knew that his family, who lived in a Gugulethu shack, could not afford to send him to university but was determined that wouldn’t stop him.
“They could never afford to pay for my tuition. I always told my mom: ‘Don’t worry. I’ll work hard in matric. This will increase my chances of getting a bursary’, and then Asset came true for me.
“It’s like the bursary is my family. We have textbooks that are expensive. So they provide me with money and I buy textbooks. They are awesome.”
Peter always knew he wanted to study after completing matric at Thandokhulu Secondary School.
“I’ve always felt fascinated by electrical engineering so this was my first option.
“Coming from Thando-khulu, which is just near UCT, you know you want to go to university, you want to study. I want to do my four years and then I want to go to work.”
His second option had been to study and work with computers as he had a number of friends who studied IT and computer science.
Referencing the creator of Facebook, Peter said: “We could form a big group and be the next (Mark) Zuckerberg and create the next social network.” He said he hoped to eventually work for Eskom and help alleviate South Africa’s electrical woes.
l Editor-in-chief of Independent Newspapers Cape Chris Whitfield will be cycling in the 698km Absa Cape Epic from March 17.