Ms Zamakhabazela Nosihle Mkhize is a young woman from KwaZulu-Natal who attended Pietermaritzburg Girl’s High School where she realised her passion for matters concerning the environment.

This led her to enrol for a BSc Life and Earth Sciences stream majoring in Microbiology and Hydrology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Her academic excellence has led her to being one of the recipients of the prestigious Frene Ginwala Scholarship awarded to top performing Black African female entrants coming into the University of KwaZulu-Natal as new undergraduates. The scholarship is named after Frene Ginwala, the first Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and former speaker of Parliament.

For Mkhize, the scholarship has eased her parents’ financial burden and has strengthened her belief in her capabilities as well as God.

‘I plan to continue studying and achieve a post-graduate degree,’ said Mkhize whilst speaking about her future plans. ‘I love the rewards of learning and I am prepared to bear its discipline. I plan to retain this scholarship and be the blessing my parents and my community deserve,’ she said.

Mkhize’s parents said they are proud of their daughter’s achievement, adding that they have noticed a positive impact on their daughter’s attitude towards academics, all thanks to the scholarship as she has managed to get two distinctions in her first semester.

Mkhize has found UKZN to be a place conducive for learning.

‘I’m honestly grateful to the funders for the opportunity that they have given me and the belief that they have placed on me. You have made a huge difference not just to me but, for my whole family. I will take this opportunity and make the best of it. Thank you and God bless,’ she said.

Words: Ntokozo Dladla

Photograph: Ntokozo Dladla