UKZN Students Scoop SASA Awards

UKZN Statistics students have scooped the lion’s share of bursaries and scholarships on offer from the South African Statistical Association (SASA).

SASA makes awards available annually to outstanding students studying Statistics at third-year and honours levels. Out of the six awards on offer nationally, four went to students from UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science – all accompanied by the highly prestigious SASA merit certificate.

The association’s Education Committee gives bursaries to academically outstanding students who are in need financially with the awards based on academic results only. The committee assesses applications from students studying at approved South African universities, with comments and information from an academic referee contributing to the process.

Mr Sfundo Khumalo and Mr Sbongiseni Mthethwa received honours bursaries, Mr Siyabonga Mazibuko got a third-year bursary, while Ms Zama Khumalo received a third-year scholarship.

Khumalo has a proven track record of excelling academically – he completed his matric at Ikusasalethu Secondary School with six distinctions going on to notch 16 distinctions during studies for his BSc undergraduate degree at UKZN. The bursary will be of great assistance to Khumalo as he plans to continue studying until he achieves his PhD.

Mthethwa says the scholarship will help him achieve his dreams of becoming a data scientist. ‘I want to show young people that it is possible to achieve your dreams no matter where you come from,’ he said. He is overjoyed about making his mom proud, being accepted for an honours degree as well as getting a bursary.

Khumalo hopes to become a statistician or data scientist and through that help support her family. The SASA scholarship has assisted her to register for further studies in Statistics this year.

‘Having my hard work recognised and praised is a great feeling,’ said Mazibuko. The bursary had helped him psychologically as well as financially as it had given him the confidence to know he could be successful in 2021.

Said Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Delia North: ‘The Statistics Discipline at UKZN is proud of these young students. The awards are evidence that the ethos of revamping curricula, motivating young staff and working tirelessly with students is paying off,’ added North.

Words: Samantha Ngcongo

Photographs: Supplied