Matie alumna Roxanne Botman is pursuing further studies in the United Kingdom and hopes to one day become an industry leader in the education technology space. But in between her studies, Roxanne (daughter of former Stellenbosch University Rector, Prof Russel Botman) is following in her father's footsteps by making sure that deserving young students get an opportunity to pursue their dreams of a brighter future through higher education.
1. You are currently in the UK, doing your MBA. When did you move there and how are the studies going?
Yes, I moved to London in September 2018. My studies have been going really well. It was quite daunting after not studying for such a long time, but I am in my final term and very happy with my experience. The diversity of the classroom has been most enriching, as the majority of my classmates are international students from various backgrounds.
2. Why an MBA?
I have been working in the learning and development industry for a few years and I felt the need to develop my business and management skills. The EdTech space, specifically, is growing so rapidly and I want to be in a position to be an industry leader.
3. Are you coming back to SA soon?
I would gladly move back to SA if an opportunity presents itself, I do miss my mom very much.
4. What are your dreams, plans and hopes for your future?
I hope to continue working in the learning and development industry and lead the way forward as we begin to bridge the gap between education technology and access to solutions.
More long-term, my dream would be to lead an organisation that supports the development of vulnerable women and girls around the world.
5. Who or what inspires you and why?
I am inspired by people's stories of resilience, such as my father's. I recently re-read the Russel Botman Tribute book, and I still struggle to comprehend how he did so much in such a short time, especially coming from such humble beginnings. It amazes me to learn about stories of people who choose to stay true to what they believe in and spend every day of their lives working towards creating a new world, despite the challenges they face.
6. Please tell us more about the Russel Botman Bursary Fund (RBBF).
The Bursary Fund was established on my fathers 60th and last celebrated birthday, where he asked for donations rather than gifts. I feel honoured to be on the committee and look forward to being apart of its growth. On 28 June 2019, we marked the fifth anniversary of his passing and we had an opportunity to reflect on the impact he made during his life. He believed in transformation, justice, hope and action.
Since its establishment, the Russel Botman Bursary Fund has been able to provide bursaries to more than 10 students. Our first intake supported the studies of three students, and this year we are supporting nine.
My hope is that we can continue to increase the number of recipients we can support, but this can only be done through increased donations. I hope those whose lives were directly or indirectly impacted by the work and efforts of my father would become regular donors and contribute to giving hope through education.
7. You are a committee member of the RBBF. Tell us about that role.
I work closely with my mother, the bursary fund chairperson, and Prof Xolile Simon in the decision making regarding the bursary fund and recipients. My specific role entails the development of the bursary fund's social media management and website development. It has been exciting to engage with followers of the Russel Botman legacy.
It would make me so happy to see our followers and supporters become donors, as we grow the fund and continue to provide deserving students with bursaries at Stellenbosch University.
8. Do you find it difficult to balance studies and your duties at the Bursary Fund?
There is no difficulty in doing something that I find so rewarding. I am happy to put effort into keeping my father's legacy alive by supporting the education of our future leaders.
9. What message do you have for young people?
Do not let your circumstances limit the size of your dreams.
10. What message would you give to fellow alumni?
Let us lead African higher education in becoming the strongest alumni, not only in our individual achievements, but also in the support we give the Stellenbosch University students of today and tomorrow.
- For more information on the Russel Botman Bursary Fund and to donate online, please visit www.russelbotman.com