John Molepo at the Es’kia Mphahlele Drive intersection with Mabopane Highway asking for money from motorists to assist prospective students in 2018. They lauded taxi drivers for their generosity.Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA
MOTORISTS turning off the R80 Mabo-pane Highway on to Es’kia Mphahlele Drive at the weekend were greeted with placards with the message: “I am a graduate and I want someone to be like me.”

The bearers were students under the #ThusaNgwanaGeno initiative, led by community activist John Molepo, asking motorists to raise registration funds for needy students.

Molepo said the idea came about after witnessing how many prospective students often struggled to raise registration money to study further.

What often made the task harder was that once the students had managed to put together registration money, they still had to find tuition fees, he said.

Molepo said: “Getting into higher education is still a challenge for many. We’re just trying to give them that first push-up. So we decided to confront all motorists who came our way to come to the table and assist us, even with the smallest amount they had in their cars, for a good cause.”

He had been overwhelmed by the positive response he and the students had received in the short space of time they had been on the road, he said.

But more especially he had been touched by the large number of taxi drivers who donated money.

He said they got the biggest chunk of the day’s collections from taximen.

“It’s touching to see how they too understand the plight of others wishing for a better and brighter future. We were only on the road for an hour and we managed to raise R2000,” Molepo said.

Through the initiative they managed to raise enough money last year to assist seven students with registration and accommodation fees.

This year he set the target even higher and is hoping to raise R50000 to R100000 to be able to help 50 students register for their studies.

Tshegofatso Ramasodi, a mechanical engineering student, said although he had been fortunate enough to be able to register, he sympathised with students who were not in the same position as him.

“There are children who come from less privileged families, but they also crave the opportunity to be able to study further and this is their first challenge,” he said.

“They need any chance or help they can get because education will help them empower themselves.”

Tshegofatso Matabathe, who is studying for a BCom recreation and sports management degree, said all he wanted to do was raise awareness among the public that even the smallest bit could make a phenomenal change in someone’s life.

Matabathe said it was heartbreaking how many matriculants from disadvantaged communities often had to stay home despite having successfully made it through matric.

“I am part of the ‘missing middle class - too rich for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, but too poor to afford tertiary fees. I want another student to get in and hopefully get a bursary to pay for studies; with every step we can get closer to realising this objective,” he said.