BSc Electrical Engineering undergraduate student Ms Londiwe Ntombela received a Frene Ginwala Scholarship at UKZN’s 2019 Scholarship Awards Ceremony.
Ntombela of Nquthu, who completed her matric at the Maceba Secondary School in Hlathi Dam, recalls being torn between a career in aeronautical engineering or becoming a pilot. Her passion for engineering, coupled with inspiration and guidance from her high school teacher, Mr Zwaliphi Khumalo, led to her choosing electrical engineering.
‘I was in a science stream because my dream was to become a pilot or anything involving aeronautical engineering. I was inspired by Mr Khumalo who told me to study at UKZN because it is one of the best universities around, especially in the field of engineering,’ says Ntombela.
The Frene Ginwala Scholarship – a special prestige entrant equity award given to top Black African women entrants enrolling at the University as new undergraduate students – is named after the first Chancellor of UKZN and the former Speaker of Parliament.
Ntombela says being selected for the award has made her very aware that no-one should be discouraged because of their background but should instead use any such situation to their advantage.
‘Getting this scholarship really means a lot to me. It shows that by working hard and believing in yourself you can make your dreams come true – the sky’s the limit. We as young Black people are often at a disadvantage because of our parents’ unstable financial situations regarding university education. However, this scholarship helped me realise it is not all about our backgrounds but rather about diligence and commitment in our pursuits. There are people who are there to help you if you have potential,’ said Ntombela.
Ntombela thanked the sponsors of the scholarship: ‘I salute the good work they are doing for us as students and trust they will continue with the funding as the contribution does not only give us financial support, it also inspires us to study harder,’ said Ntombela.
Quoting Nelson Mandela, she said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world, it encourages public and private institutions to provide young people with a chance to study and make a difference in their lives as well as society.’
Both Ntombela’s mother, Mrs Mbali Ntombela, and high school principal, Mr Cedric Ngobese, are proud of Ntombela’s achievement.
‘Londiwe has been receiving academic accolades for her achievements since she arrived at this school,’ said Ngobese. ‘I have no doubt that at the end of the year she will excel and believe the high performance will enable her to cope with standards necessary to achieve in tertiary education.’
‘It has been an honour to watch Londiwe growing up – she has always been a well-behaved child, responsible and an example to her siblings,’ said Mbali. ‘From her primary school days, she knew what she wanted to be and getting this scholarship has now made it all possible.
‘As a parent I am proud of all her accomplishments and know she is going to excel in the engineering world,’ said Mbali.
Words: Zolile Duma