Flats gift for UWC students

A SUCCESSFUL business couple have given back to their former community in the most extraordinary way in an effort to redress the inequalities of apartheid's legacy.

Solly and Khairu Nagdee, responding to a student housing need in the country, have donated a block of flats to UWC, which will house about 100 students.

Solly and Khairu Nagdee. Credit: UWC

In 1963, Solly Nagdee was successful in his bid to buy a petrol station in Bellville South while working as a storeman for Total Oil in Johannesburg.

He then relocated to the area and married Khairu two years later.

In 1966, Solly was again successful in a bid to buy a Total petrol station in Athlone. In 1972, he emerged as the top Total dealer in the country.

“We are aware of the 
struggles the University of the Western Cape and students face.

"Too many students deregister because they cannot afford the cost of accommodation and transport. As business people since 1963 in Bellville South, we cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of our community," said Solly.

Khairu said the couple considered themselves lucky to have achieved all they have in their lifetime, because many people of colour were denied the opportunity of succeeding during apartheid.

“We remember where we came from and have worked hard throughout our lives to make a success of whatever we did.

"So many of our people remain at a disadvantage and are desperately poor because of what apartheid did to this country and its people. My husband and I are aware that many students might drop out because they can't afford the fees or don't have a place to live,” Khairu said.

The block of flats in Kuils River now belongs to the 
university and it will take responsibility for it.

UWC deputy vice-chancellor Pamela Dube said the university was delighted by the Nagdees' donation.

“We plan to allocate accommodation spaces to students in 2017, but we need to ensure that their transportation, access to internet and other amenities are taken care of as well.

"The university is grateful for community leaders such as Mr and Mrs Nagdee – leaders who are willing to make such wonderful contributions,” Dube said.