This was a message from Londiwe Xulu, a recipient of the Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE) bursary who gave a moving motivational talk at a ceremony to honour 27 fellow bursaries beneficiaries who recently graduated from various colleges and universities. “Some of my peers would say I was taking my studies too seriously but I ignored them and pushed harder to achieve my goals. That is why I passed my degree with merit – I never had any supplement instead I would get at least one or two distinctions each year. Hard work and dedication pays off,” said Xulu. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Animal Science from the University of Zululand.
- Londiwe Xulu, SITFE bursary recipient
The event – attended by industry leadership, parents, students and all other invited guests – was held at the South African Sugar Association Auditorium in Mount Edgecombe. The top achievers were rewarded with brand new laptop computers. All graduates received certificates in recognition of their achievements. “We have converged on this venue here today to celebrate and acknowledge the academic achievements and excellence of our graduate students. It is a great day! Each and every one of you today is well on their way to success,” said Tim Murray, SITFE chairman.
Murray added: “Since its inception in 1965, SITFE has made it possible for more than 10 000 students from the sugarcane growing provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga to realise their academic dreams. We have always been of the firm view that academically deserving students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds needed funding to unleash their full potential”.
Each year SITFE awards 41 bursaries to deserving students. Included in the 41 bursaries are six bursaries which are reserved for children of sugarcane farmworkers who can apply for any field of study at a tertiary institution of their choice. The SITFE bursary covers 100% of tuition fees, books, meals, and accommodation for the entire duration of the student’s undergraduate course. Currently, the Bursary Programme supports 90 students and spends on average R5 million annual on this programme.
Xulu encouraged bursary recipients to prioritise their studies. “Education unlocks doors to your future but it’s not an easy road. Your future is in your hands, start preparing for your future now by making sure that you study hard and excel in your studies. Associate with people that have the same goals. Don’t waste time and say you will do it tomorrow, do it now. If you feel that you are struggling with your studies, think of your dream you want to achieve, that will give you strength to study more. Make education your friend and you will be set for a life of success,” said Xulu.
Murray said the sugar industry was committed to continuing with contributing towards creating an educated nation through SITFE. “We are hard at work doing our bit as the sugar industry creating a winning nation by investing in young people of the country. We see education as a crucial tool of economic freedom and emancipation. It was Diogenes Laertius who once said, ‘The foundation of every state is the education of its youth’. And we fully agree with this sentiment,” he concluded.