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Maties, Veldskoen Shoes team up to help students in need, Veldskoen Shoes team up to help students in needDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p><em>​​</em>Stellenbosch University (SU) this week announced their collaboration with celebrated local shoe company, Veldskoen Shoes, which also produces the flip flop brand, Plakkie. Named the Maties X Veldskoen, the new shoe will contribute proceeds of the sales to the university's Annual Fund Bridge The Gap (BTG). </p><p>BTG aims to remove the obstacles that are hindering Maties from having a meaningful student experience and obtaining that sought-after degree. The University is raising funds for several initiatives under the umbrella of Bridge the Gap. These include, #Move4Food, the Tygerberg Pantry Project, #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, #Zim4Zim, End Period Poverty, #MatiesHaveDrive and Caught in the Middle.</p><p>Incorporating the iconic SU maroon colour, alumni who purchase a pair of hand-crafted, maroon-soled Maties x Veldskoen shoes and Maties Plakkie, can take pride in the fact that 5% of the total sales will go to the University's longstanding initiative which provides food security and financial aid to students who, otherwise, wouldn't be in the position to complete their education. This new collaboration will allow Maties of yesteryear to contribute positively to the next generation of Maties today.<br></p><p>​Bridge the Gap Coordinator Viwe Benxa says: "We are truly excited by this new venture partnership with Veldskoen and Plakkie. Our students will be benefitting immensely from it and this will lead to the further success and the prosperity of our student community. "</p><p>The Maties x Veldskoen shoe and Plakkie will officially launch at the 2022 Alumni Homecoming weekend celebrations, during the Matie Soirée at the Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal.<br></p><p>With the influx of two thousand alumni returning to Stellenbosch for their annual Homecoming celebrations, the sentiments of fraternal pride and solidarity are even stronger than usual. The well-known slogan 'Always a Matie' has never rung truer.<br></p><p>Director of Principal and Transformative Gifts at SU, Pieter Swart adds: “Stellenbosch University is excited to partner with Veldskoen/ Plakkie, a truly South African product. We believe that through the venture we will not only grow the SU brand in a unique way but also significantly contribute to our student community in need through Bridge the Gap."</p><p>Veldskoen's continued mission to support, uplift and champion South Africa via multiple sectors is driven by its purpose to power an inclusive future for all, which includes empowering future Maties generations and making a positive impact through the Bridge The Gap initiative.  </p><p>Veldskoen Shoes co-founder and proud Matie Ross Zondagh says: “As an alumnus the opportunity to contribute meaningfully is a privilege. Knowing the work that Bridge The Gap does, we know this endeavour will have a positive effect on students that need assistance."</p><p><strong>The Matie Veldskoen and Maties Plakkie</strong></p><p>Veldskoen embraced SU's signature colour and the name The Matie – nickname for students of Stellenbosch University which came from the Afrikaans colloquialism <em>maat (mate or friend)</em>, originally used by the students of the University of Cape Town's precursor, the South African College. 'The Matie' has been integrated into Veldskoen's Heritage range with matching coloured soles and laces. They are available branded with the SU logo at R1199 or without for R1099. The specially designed Maties Plakkie will retail for R280 and will be available from the Matie Shop on campus and at<a href=""> <strong></strong></a> as of 9 September. </p><p><strong>Veldskoen Shoes</strong></p><p>Veldskoen Shoes is a footwear and apparel company that champions South Africa. Since its inception in 2016, Veldskoen has grown from a small start-up to a global brand that sells in over 30 countries worldwide.<br></p><p><strong style="text-decoration:underline;">Retail price:</strong><br></p><ul><li>Maties X Veldskoen unbranded - R1099</li><li>Maties X Veldskoen branded - R1199</li><li>Maties Plakkies male and female - R280</li><li>Spotless Maties Cleaning Kit - R269 </li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Trolley Challenge 2022: Calling all faculties! Challenge 2022: Calling all faculties! Development & Alumni Relations<p>The Development and Alumni Relations Division is calling on all Stellenbosch University faculties to participate in its annual Faculty Trolley Challenge which aims to collect non-perishable food, sanitary products, toiletries and funds for students in need.<br></p><p>So far eight faculties have responded to the challenge which will form part of DAR's Campus Giving Day activities from 6 to 7 October 2022. Campus Giving Day aims to raise funds for and awareness of the Bridge the Gap (BTG) Annual Fund and its various initiatives. BTG aims to close the gap between talent and financial need by inviting the SU student community, staff, parents and friends of the university to support students in overcoming the financial obstacles blocking their path to success.<br></p><p>The Faculty Trolley Challenge was set in motion during last year's Giving Day when the Dean of Engineering Wikus van Niekerk and the Dean of AgriSciences Danie Brink set about raising funds for the Tygerberg Pantry Project, one of BTG's initiatives. The Tygerberg Pantry Project came about in response to the overwhelming need for food and toiletries among health sciences and medical students on SU's Tygerberg Campus.<br></p><p>Viwe Benxa, BTG ambassador and Alumni Participation Coordinator in DAR, said: “I'm sure this challenge will prove to be a testament to the generosity and commitment of each of our faculties. It will also serve to demonstrate the care and support we all feel for students who are struggling. It is a selfless way for faculties to get more involved in the development of students."<br></p><p>He added: “We'd love to see some stiff competition develop among the faculties, and we would like to encourage all staff, students and alumni to give back in any way they possibly can."<br></p><p>Faculties willing to get involved in the Faculty Trolley Challenge will be supplied with two boxes in which donors would be able to drop pantry items such as noodles, coffee, flour (mieliepap), oil, peanut butter, rice and tinned food. They can also donate toiletries such as deodorant, sanitary towels, razors, toilet paper and toothpaste. Monetary donations can be deposited through the Giving Day platform:  <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></p><p>According to Benxa these donations will be tallied at the end of Giving Day (7 October 2022), and will go towards supporting not only the Tygerberg Pantry Project, but also the #Move4Food and End Period Poverty projects under BTG.</p><p>“With your help, we want to equip our social workers with enough food parcels, toiletry packs and emergency funds to assist our students in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 – peak periods of need among our students," said Benxa.</p><p>This year's Campus Giving Day will be a hybrid event open to the SU community and alumni from around the world. It will include activities such as a spinathon, a movie marathon, athletics and table tennis.</p><p>Other projects under BTG include,  #Action4Inclusion which supports students who cannot register for the next academic year owing to outstanding fees; #GradMe which helps students with unpaid fees to graduate; #Zim4Zim, which ensures that students are given financial support to help clear study debt; Caught in the Middle which helps students who do not qualify for free higher education bursaries from government; and #MatiesHaveDrive which works with firms to provide part-funded driver training for students who require a driving licence to get a job.</p><ul><li>Faculties interested in participating in the Faculty Trolley Challenge should contact the Bridge the Gap team at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. They can also reach out to Bridge the Gap on its various social media platforms.</li></ul><ul><li>For more information about the Bridge the Gap fund and its initiatives visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>​</li></ul>
Telling her story on her terms her story on her termsDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we look back on Women's Month in South Africa, Dr Beryl Botman, has just completed a number of Women's Month engagements in August in which she shared information about her first non-fiction book, <em>With (-Out) You</em>. It tells the deeply personal story of how she dealt with the sudden passing of her husband, and former Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Stellenbosch University, Prof Russel Botman.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The book chronicles how she coped with the loss of Russel, who was also her friend, confidante, and biggest supporter, in the first year after his death on 28 June 2014. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It was very difficult losing Russel," says Botman, “but I managed to cope by pulling in support where I needed it and also looking after my psychological wellbeing." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Some months after Russel's passing, Dr Botman finished her PhD at SU in 2014 and joined Free State University as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the then Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice. She also started working on various writing projects while also mulling over others she wanted to start.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Russel and I had always said that when he retires we will start writing, so I always knew I would start writing one day," says Botman. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Russel's death pushed her into writing, when she was asked to submit an epilogue in the tribute book to Russel. Today she also serves as Chair of the Russel Botman Bursary Fund and on the Committee that organises the Russel Botman Memorial Lecture.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Botman's own journey into the education and higher education sector, started in the late 1970s when she enrolled for a BA degree at the University of Cape Town after matriculating from Crestway High School in Retreat. As a woman of colour, she was only allowed to attend the university after obtaining a study permit. She also completed a teaching diploma and a BEd degree at UCT.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She worked as a teacher at Lavender Hill Senior Secondary School teaching Afrikaans First and Second Language to Grade 8 to 12 learners for 13 years, and completed a Masters in Education at the University of the Western Cape in that time on a part-time basis. After graduating in 1995, Botman became a Senior Curriculum Advisor for Afrikaans in the then Worcester region of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). She was later promoted to Deputy Chief Education Specialist in the same department, but in 2004 Botman realised she had become “disillusioned with her career" and resigned from the WCED.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">By this time, Russel was serving as Vice Rector: Teaching and Learning at SU, and Botman was balancing her PhD studies in Values Education at SU with her role as a mother who had to take on more household duties to allow Russel to excel in a position that demanded a lot of his time and effort. In 2007, Russel became the first black Vice Chancellor and Rector of SU, which placed even more demands on him.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Russel and I decided together that applying for the Vice Chancellor position was the most influential way that we could make a difference together, with me fulfilling more of a supportive role and taking on a lot more of the family and household responsibilities that we had shared equally before. I was also his sounding board and with my background in education and knowledge of the education environment, I was able to also give him input when needed."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Botman continued to focus on her own career too - running a Wayne Ellis Coaching Academy franchise and lecturing part-time in the Education Department at SU.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Three years after serving as Rector, Russel's vision for SU culminated in the HOPE Project which he described at the time as moving the university from “success to significance in order to be of relevance to the people of our country and continent".  The project was focused on how SU could contribute to “the eradication of poverty and related conditions, and the promotion of human dignity and health, democracy and human rights, peace and security, as well as a sustainable environment and a competitive industry".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, in his second term as Rector, Russel passed away leaving behind four children, Roxanne, Ilse, Lizelle and Hayman. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Years later, it was Roxanne who would share Michelle Obama's book, <em>Becoming</em>, with her and the advice of her friend, disability, and women's rights activist as well as Artscape CEO, Marlene le Roux, who inspired her to write down her story of love and loss. <em>With (-Out) You</em> is the first of two books she wants to publish about the first five years after Russel's passing. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I wanted to share my experience after losing Russel, and so I told myself, I had to write 1 000 words a day at least. Somedays there were lots of writing and other days there was nothing. But it was important to document what happened after Russel's death. After his death, I had collected everything connected to that time in a box - all the cards, the notes, the newspaper clippings that became my sources for writing.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This process has brought some perspective and some things I now see differently than I saw then, but I wanted this to be MY reflection on that year and I wanted it to be authentic."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Reflecting on where South African women find themselves in Women's Month 2022, Botman is clear on the challenges, but remains hopeful. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My feelings about Women's Month are quite ambivalent, and while I know we have made some strides in improving the position of women in society today, there are still so many challenges that we face. We are still struggling with disparities in salaries between men and women, unequal appointment, and promotion processes for women, and then of course the added obstacles that women of colour face," says Botman.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It can therefore feel like we are not making progress, but if we are honest, and reflect on the statistics regarding the equality of women in all spheres of society, then we have made some progress. It's just that it has been very, very slow." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is particularly because of the inequalities that women already face outside the home, that Botman believes that it is vital to build a life or other types of relationships with individuals who see your value and want to see you thrive and grow.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was always Russel's equal and he had a high regard for the value that I brought to the relationship. He always used to joke, that if he had to pay me, he wouldn't be able to afford me," says Botman and laughs.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is these values that were so central to their life together that Botman hopes they managed to also carry over to their children as their daughters are still facing the same challenges as many women before them have faced, from being disregarded in the workplace and daily life, to being treated as a threat when their qualifications outweigh their peers and being expected to be subservient to be accepted. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The challenges never stop, no matter your age, and by the virtue of being a woman, you have to be ready to continuously push those barriers." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While she admits that life without Russel can be a daily struggle, on the days she wants to share news of her day with him - like the recent publication of her first book - she is grateful that she was the “one who got to spend 25 years with him". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I can't be dissatisfied that I now have to live without him, because living without him means I also got to share a life with him for 25 years. We shared such a close relationship, we worked together, we had fun together and we travelled together. Looking back, I am grateful that I resigned from my job in 2004, because if I had not, I would not have been able to spend the next seven years travelling with him across the world and I don't regret any of it." </p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><em>Dr Botman's book With (-Out) You can be purchased on Amazon and Smashwords at </em><em> </em><a href=""><em><strong></strong></em></a><em>. It will soon also be available at other bookstores and on Takealot.</em></li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p>​<br></p>
Homecoming: Spotlight on SA economy at business breakfast Spotlight on SA economy at business breakfastDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>Time is running out to book your tickets for Stellenbosch University's Homecoming Business Breakfast taking place on Friday 9 September at 09:00 at the Adam Small Theatre Complex in Stellenbosch. <br></p><p>The Alumni Relations Office in partnership with the Stellenbosch Business School will host this business breakfast with the theme “Bull or bear? Leaders' views on the future of South Africa's economy". </p><p>Leading thinkers such as South African Financial and Fiscal Commission chair Dr Patience Nombeko Mbava, Artscape chief executive Dr Marlene le Roux and Simon Susman, Chairman of Conservation South Africa, President of Intercontinental Group of Department Stores, Board member of five companies and Honorary President ​ of Woolworths Holdings Ltd, will share their insights. </p><p>Dr Morné Mostert, Strategic Foresight Advisor and former director of the Institute for Futures Research, will serve as moderator of what is bound to be a highly informative discussion in light of the current challenges and opportunities in both the South African and global economy.</p><ul><li>Book your space on Quicket <strong>(</strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>).</strong> </li><li>For any queries, please send an email to or call +27 21 808 2710.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
‘I want to pave a new way for the generation coming after me’‘I want to pave a new way for the generation coming after me’Development & Alumni Relations<p>​As an award-winning food scientist, Sinesipho Galada has found her true passion. And it's all thanks to Stellenbosch University's SciMathUS programme, which she says introduced her to the wonders of food science.<br></p><p>Galada's passion led to her being awarded the Food Science and Technology prize in 2021 with a group of fellow students at the Institute of Packaging South Africa's annual Gold Pack Awards. </p><p>But before the accolades, she was a Grade 12 student who needed a second chance to qualify for admission to higher education. The SciMathUS programme gives high school learners who have already passed Grade 12 but do not qualify for higher education selection a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting. This will enable them to re-apply for university programmes.<br></p><p>Says Galada: “After I received my Grade 12 marks I got rejected by most of the institutions I had applied to. I was only accepted at one higher education institution but unfortunately, I did not have funding at the time. While I was still searching for funding opportunities, I heard about the SciMathUS programme and thought that it is something that can benefit me. My physical sciences marks were not good enough and I wanted to improve it because I think it was the reason I did not get accepted at the institutions I had applied for." </p><p>She managed to get herself accepted into the SciMathUS class of 2017.<br></p><p>“The SciMathUS programme not only helped me to improve my NSC mark, but it was also through the programme that I got introduced to my current career path. Before SciMathUS I did not know about Food Science. After I heard about it, I was sold." <br></p><p>She went on to study for a BSc (Food Science) degree at SU which she completed in 2021.<br></p><p>“I chose this degree because I felt like it represents me. Growing up, I was always into food hygiene and safety. I saw myself in this degree."<br></p><p>Galada, who hails from the small Eastern Cape town of Molteno, added that the SciMathUS programme helped her to escape out of her comfort zone.</p><p>“All my life I've always been with my own people from the amaXhosa tribe. The programme taught me to interact with others and I got to meet a diverse group of people. I also learnt other languages besides my mother tongue and English. I believe that the transition from high school to university would have been difficult for me if it wasn't for this programme. It made it easier for me to navigate my university career."<br></p><p>She is currently studying towards a MSc (Food Science), focusing on food microbiology, at the University of Pretoria.<br></p><p>“I always challenge and push myself to do better," she says, explaining her decision to further her studies. “I come from a disadvantaged background and I want to change that for myself and pave a new way for the generation coming after me."<br></p>
Join us for Homecoming 2022 us for Homecoming 2022Development & Alumni RelationsOur annual Maties Homecoming weekend for alumni will be taking place from Thursday 8 September to Saturday 10 September 2022 on the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses. And after two years of lockdown, this year's event promises to be one for the books.<div><br></div><div>As usual, the Alumni Relations Office has planned various tailormade gatherings. Expect networking events, campus tours, a business breakfast, sporting activities and socials. No fewer than 11 residences will also host birthday reunions over the weekend, and the first-year groups of 1971 and 1972, 1981 and 1982, 1991 and 1992, 2001 and 2002, 2011 and 2012 will meet up in Stellenbosch on Saturday 10<sup>th</sup> September; and the 1982, 1992, and 2012 graduates of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences are getting together on the Tygerberg campus.<p><br></p><p>Here's what you can look forward to:<br> <br><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-3">Thursday 8 September</strong></p><p><strong>A round of golf</strong></p><p>We're kicking off Homecoming at <strong>11:00</strong> with a first-ever golf day for our SWANs (Stellenbosch Women Alumnae Network) at the Stellenbosch golf course.  A prize-giving ceremony will take place at the end of the day, followed by a dinner and the opportunity to enjoy award-winning wines from SU's very own winemaking alumni. The cost is R3 600 per four-ball and all proceeds will go towards SU's Bursary Fund.  </p><p><strong>Enquiries:</strong> Marvin Koopman, <a href=""></a> or Lauren Jimmy, <a href=""></a> </p><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-3">Friday 9 September</strong></p><p><strong>Business breakfast</strong><br> We're up bright and early for a business breakfast at <strong>09:00</strong> at the Adam Small theatre complex in Stellenbosch. A panel of experts will be discussing the theme “Bull or bear? Leaders' views on the future of South Africa's economy".</p><p>Leading thinkers such as South African Financial and Fiscal Commission chair Dr Patience Nombeko Mbava, Artscape chief executive Dr Marlene le Roux and Simon Susman, Chairman of Conservation South Africa, President of Intercontinental Group of Department Stores, Board member of five companies and Chairman of Woolworths Holdings Ltd, will share their insights. Dr Morné Mostert, Strategic Foresight Advisor and former director of the Institute for Futures Research, will serve as moderator of what is bound to be a highly informative discussion in light of the current challenges and opportunities in both the South African and global economy.</p><p><strong>Tickets are limited and cost R250 per person</strong>, which includes a full South African breakfast upon arrival. The event will be hosted in partnership with the Stellenbosch Business School.</p><ul><li><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;">CLICK HERE to book</span></a></li></ul><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Matie Soirée</strong><br> Close your eyes and imagine spring in the Boland, the smells of food wafting through the air, and the very best company … Now gather your friends and make that vision a reality. At <strong>14:00</strong>, we'll be hosting a Matie Soirée at the Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal.</p><p>We have teamed up with nine wine farms and our winemaking alumni to present a tasting of their finest produce. For those preferring something non-alcoholic, The Raw Berry Press will be on hand to serve up some of their top-quality cold-pressed juices. While you mingle with both familiar and new faces, we'll treat you to an evening of first-class entertainment.</p><p><strong>Cost:</strong> R100 per person</p><ul><li><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;">CLICK HERE to book.</span></a> ​<br></li></ul><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-3">Saturday 10 September</strong><br></p><p><strong>Bergpad run, walk or cycle</strong><br> Come fill your lungs with fresh air and stretch those legs. The festivities continue with a walk, run or cycle up breath-taking Stellenbosch mountain at <strong>07:30.</strong> Not superfit? Don't worry, we're accommodating all fitness levels, so bring your friends, family and pets, and enjoy fantastic views of the town. Refreshments will be served afterwards at the Alumni Clubhouse.<br></p><ul><li><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;">CLICK HERE to book.</span></a> </li></ul><p></p><p><a href=""><em><strong>CLICK HERE</strong></em></a><em> for the full Homecoming programme. Any questions? Please send an email to </em><a href=""><em><strong></strong></em></a><em> or call +27 21 808 2710.</em><br></p><p>​<br></p></div>
Remarkable women of SciMathUS women of SciMathUSDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​In celebration of Women's Month, Stellenbosch University's SciMathUS university preparation programme shines the spotlight on four remarkable women who form part of the SciMathUS teaching and support staff. They share how the programme has not only irrevocably changed the lives of their students but also their own lives and the way they perceive the world.<br></p><p>The SciMathUS programme annually offers high school learners who have already passed Grade 12 but do not qualify for higher education selection a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting. This will enable them to re-apply for university programmes.<br></p><p><br></p><p><strong>Dr Elza Lourens (Facilitator Physical Sciences)</strong></p><p>“Sometimes I think I learn more from my students than they do from me," declares Elza, who has been part of the SciMathUS programme since its inception in 2001.<br></p><p>“I've learnt from them how to navigate the hardships that life throws at you. To experience their grit and the work ethic that they show and develop during the year, despite the challenges that many face – such as a lack of food security and support from home – and the way that they handle it, is really humbling and inspiring. I learn from them on a daily basis and it is so rewarding. I've also learnt so much from the different cultures that each of them represent. I believe getting to know other people and their cultures makes you understand them and love them more."<br></p><p>She says even her husband and children have been influenced by these students' determination to overcome adversity. "My kids are privileged but I have been able to expose them to what these students are going through and what it means to have nothing but still work hard and achieve and make something of your life. It has changed the way our whole family views diversity and the cultures of the people in South Africa."</p><p> </p><p><strong>Elsje Beyers (Facilitator: Computer literacy and student support)</strong></p><p>Elsje refers to herself as “the link that puts the students on the path to a better life". With 18 years of assisting students with, among other things, career guidance and university applications, that link is quite significant.<br></p><p>“I always want to prepare the students for what they will face because they have so many obstacles to overcome. It is a culture shock when any student from any culture comes to Stellenbosch University, even more so for disadvantaged students from rural areas. It is important for me to help the students fit in on campus and to guide them to make informed choices."<br></p><p>The mother of four says the tenacity and endurance that these students show is inspiring. “I have a special needs son who requires a lot of energy from me. But I replenish that energy when I work with the SciMathUS students. When I leave campus to go home,​ I am exhilarated and energised because the process is so rewarding. They help me to better fulfill my role as a mother."</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Dr Janina Theron (Facilitator: Language and Thinking Skills)</strong></p><p>After eight years teaching in the SciMathUs programme, Janina is still motivated by the same thing – love.<br></p><p>“I love teaching. I am a bit of an entertainer so just standing in front of a class makes me happy. For me it's more than just teaching a subject, it is walking a journey with students who you get to love. My students, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, are more often than not the last hope for them and their families to escape the cycle of poverty. The stress that this puts on them is immense. So I always try to emphasise the importance of loving each other and yourself. I often open my class with a meditation or just a moment for us to reflect on what we are grateful for. I try to create a loving and safe space that they can feel comfortable in." <br></p><p><br></p><p><strong>Noni Kulati (Residence head at Boland College)</strong></p><p>With 106 students in her care, it is easy to see why Noni is considered as a mother figure among her flock.<br></p><p>“Yes, I am sort of like a mother to them," she says. “The students mostly come from rural areas and townships and some of them have never even been away from home. So sometimes it can be a struggle adapting to such a culturally diverse environment as Stellenbosch University. My role is to guide them and to boost their morale and to make them feel at home."<br></p><p>In her four years as residence head, she has seen it all. She says students sometimes try to bend the rules, especially when it comes to adhering to curfew times. “But they know there are certain boundaries they cannot cross. I am friendly, but straightforward and if you are wrong, you are wrong. I am not afraid to point it out to them," she says.<br></p><div>Photo:<br></div><div><em>From left to right: Nokwanda Siyengo, SciMathUS Component Head, Elza Lourens, Noni Kulati, Janina Theron </em><em>and Elsje Beyers.</em></div><p><br></p>
'I seized the opportunity''I seized the opportunity'Othmar Vorster<p><strong>Othmar Vorster</strong></p><p>SciMathUS class of 2017</p><p>Degree Programme: BScHons in Earth Sciences 2021</p><p> </p><p>I am Othmar Vorster, originally from Kakamas, but moved to Aggeneys in the Bushmanland region of the Northern Cape at a young age. I was always an achiever at school.<br></p><p>I participated in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair for three consecutive years where I obtained a bronze and a silver medal in my second year of participation. I was also selected as part of the top performers in my province to participate in the Hope@Maties programme in 2016.</p><p>Everything changed when my parents divorced. I was just not the same student anymore and my grades dropped as a result. In my matric year, my results for Mathematics and Physical Sciences were not up to standard and I was unable to apply for the MB,ChB degree at Stellenbosch University. I felt that I had not only disappointed myself but also my parents and teachers who believed in me.</p><p>My former Maths teacher told me about SciMathUS. I seized the opportunity and never looked back. I was difficult for me to see many of my matric year class and some of those who were part of the Hope@Maties programme on the Stellenbosch campus, but that made me more determined to make a success of my SciMathUS year.</p><p>SciMathUS gave me the opportunity to consider many career choices. We were also informed of the pitfalls of studying at university, for instance the issues that previous students had encountered, and what they did to overcome their challenges. This made me more determined as someone from a small town and very far from home, not to fail in any way. The experience broadened my vision and at the end of the year I knew exactly what I wanted to become one day.  </p><p>My attention shifted from the MB,ChB to Geology. The Department of Earth Sciences is located across from the Education Faculty and I often popped in there to find out more about the course, lecturers and qualification requirements. At the end of my SciMathUS year, I decided to rather apply for a BSc in Earth Sciences (Applied Geology). And I did not regret my choice, as I immediately felt at home where I was. I completed my degree and postgraduate degree in the minimum required time. All thanks to SciMathUS who introduced me to the various offerings at Stellenbosch University so that I could make an informed decision.</p><p>My message to students who feel they have failed, or disappointed their parents, is a motivational quote that stood out during my year at SciMathUS: “You have not come this far, to only come this far."</p><p>Whenever you fail or stumble, just remember that it's not the end. You did not get so far only to give up everything. You are not a failure. There is something inside you ready to take on the world.</p><p>Without SciMathUS and their support, I would not have known what was inside me. They helped me gain confidence and to pursue my dreams to the best of my ability. I am grateful to SciMathUS and their team for helping me realise my dreams. The insecure young man who joined your programme is now a man who has the world in his hands. I will forever be grateful to you.<br></p><p><br></p>
Top jazz musicians come to the party to raise funds for students jazz musicians come to the party to raise funds for studentsDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>Jazz lovers can look forward to a cosy winter evening with sizzling entertainment aimed at raising funds for a good cause – helping students settle their university fees. On Wednesday, 8 June two of Cape Town's top jazz virtuosos, <strong>Billy Domingo</strong> and <strong>Don Vino Prins</strong>, will be in attendance at the Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal in Stellenbosch in aid of #Action4Inclusion, a fundraising initiative of Stellenbosch University (SU), under the auspices of Prof Thuli Madonsela, Law Trust Chair in Social Justice.</p><p>Prof Madonsela says that it is a huge honour for the University and the #Action4Inclusion campaign to host Cape Town's top musical talent. “Last year we held a successful comedy evening in aid of #Action4Inclusion, so we decided to focus on music this year. The performing arts are a powerful tool to unite people and provide much-needed relief from our daily struggles. We are grateful for artists who offer their time and sublime talents to support our quest for zero student debt and financial exclusion."</p><p>Billy Domingo is known for being the festival director of the popular Cape Town International Jazz Festival. He started working in the theatre as a young man in the 1960s and later honed his craft in the music industry while working behind the scenes of music productions and as a tour manager for one of South Africa's most famous musicians, Lucky Dube. Asked about the importance of the performing arts, Domingo said, “The arts have always been close to my heart and after the devastation of Covid-19 and its lasting effect on the music industry, it's great to see the arts are starting to revive and thrive again. It's an honour working with and supporting young musicians and performers with my great friend, Don Vino Prins, and I look forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge of the industry at the event."</p><p>Versatile saxophone wizard, Don Vino Prins, has been a shining star on the music scene for over 20 years and is best known for his Saxy Vibes show. He is masterful in any genre – from gospel to reggae, hip-hop, pop and jazz. </p><p>The musical duo will be introduced by compère Pieter Swart of SU's Alumni Office and guests can look forward to cheese and wine to complement the evening's entertainment.</p><p>Prof Madonsela says that it is heartening to see how the support for the #Action4Inclusion campaign has grown over the past two years. The initiative, launched in 2020, was conceptualised by SU's Student Representative Council, Prof Madonsela, Prof Sonia Human (former dean of SU's Faculty of Law) and Social Justice Ambassadors. The funds raised via #Action4Inclusion are used to support students who cannot register for the next academic year due to outstanding fees, as well as graduates who cannot access their academic records upon graduation.</p><p>The main aim of the #Action4Inclusion campaign is to ensure the academic inclusion of all students, explains Prof Madonsela. “The plight of students who are overwhelmed by university fees debt is of great concern. Many students from under-resourced backgrounds struggle to pay their university fees and are often at risk of dropping out."</p><p>Join Prof Madonsela and the #Action4Inclusion team for an evening of first-class entertainment that will drive away the winter blues <em>and</em> help deserving students. </p><p>Tickets for the #Action4Inclusion Jazz Concert on 8 June can be booked on the website <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong> </strong>at R200 per person. </p><p><strong>Donate to #Action4Inclusion:</strong> <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong></strong><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Alumna can't wait to 'impact lives for the better' can't wait to 'impact lives for the better'Development & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>It is not how you start out but where you end up – this is the lesson first-generation student Agnes Molebatsi had to learn on her higher education journey at Stellenbosch University (SU). But, thankfully for her, it was a lesson which was made much more bearable through her participation in the university's SciMathUS university preparation programme.</p><p>The SciMathUS programme gives high school learners who have already passed Grade 12 but do not qualify for higher education selection a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting. This will enable them to re-apply for university programmes.<br></p><p>Molebatsi started life in the small town of Khutsong in Carletonville in the Gauteng province.<br></p><p>“In our town the top careers that were highly esteemed and deemed significant by the community were engineering, medicine, law and teaching.  So, growing up my aspirations were centred around those career fields as well as my choices of study. But my matric marks did not qualify me to get into medicine or engineering, and because of my Christian background I chose to study something related to youth ministry (B.Th. Youth work) at SU. But in 2015, during an SU open day, I discovered animal science farming and became passionate about the possibility of finding new ways to farm sustainably and new technology that can be adopted to help feed our growing population. Right there I knew that this is what I wanted to do."</p><p>She decided to change her course but the obstacle was her matric marks which did not meet the minimum requirements for her to embark on the BSc Agri (Animal Science) programme that she wanted to study. It was then that she encountered the SciMathUS programme and managed to enrol in the class of 2015.<br></p><p>“My SciMathUs journey was not an easy one. I struggled a lot because the NSC syllabus had changed the previous year so I had to start from scratch to learn some mathematical concepts. But the lecturers were patient with me, and they encouraged me to book extra sessions to help me understand the concepts. I persevered and was able to improve my physical science and mathematics marks and to obtain admission to the BSc Animal Science course."<br></p><p>Molebatsi is currently studying towards a MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and plans to one day start her own poultry farming business where she would be able to transfer the skills she learnt from SU to her community.<br></p><p>“My aim is to improve livelihoods through the science of sustainable farming, to help small-scale farmers to increase production and to increase their efficiency in an environmentally friendly manner."<br></p><p>But for the moment she is ploughing back into the SciMathUS community as a SciMathUS mentor.<br></p><p>“I was fortunate enough to be appointed as a mentor and can now share my experiences with the current SciMathUS students. Just to be in a position to inspire those who are on the path that I walked, is fulfilling. One day when I am financially stable, I would love to become one of the donors who keep the programme running and who impact so many lives for the better."​​</p>