For Law students, Mr Ethan Chetty, Rifqah Abdool Majid and Ms Regina Ticharwa, receiving a Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship is the motivation they needed to pursue their dreams.
Last year, Chetty was one of 15 of the world’s most promising students in Politics, Law and Commerce to be selected to take part in the Summer Programme on International Affairs at Oxford University. This year, he was recognised as one of UKZN’s top ranked undergraduate students.
‘From the first time I heard about scholarships in primary school, I set myself the goal of being self-sufficient. My parents were willing to sacrifice everything to give me the best education, but I wanted to give back to them for every long night that they spent at work for me. I have been able to support myself through university which, in addition to being incredibly empowering for me, has allowed my entire family to live a better life,’ said Chetty.
Looking to the future, Chetty hopes to use his Law degree to contribute to the global struggle for human rights.
‘I believe that democratic transformation in South Africa has desensitised society to a multitude of socio-economic issues. I aim to research and work towards diminishing the divide between rich and poor in our country, whether that be through a master’s or a job,’ he said.
For Ticharwa who hails from Zimbabwe, the scholarship represents much welcome financial relief.
‘I faced a lot of challenges at the beginning of my studies but the biggest was the constant worry about not being able to afford tuition fees due to the economic situation in Zimbabwe. The scholarship allows me to study without worrying and this recognition in a foreign country is my biggest achievement thus far. I recommend UKZN to all international students who wish to pursue their studies in South Africa. Although it took a while to get used to, now I don’t feel like I am not in my own country,’ she said.
While Ticharwa aspired to be a teacher, her family had other plans.
‘My family applied for me without my knowledge and then one day told me that I was going to study Law and had already been admitted. I was scared and thought it would be hard, but here I am as a scholarship recipient. Passing well and obtaining merits made me realise that it was possible. My passion for teaching persists and I am planning to pursue my master’s degree so that I can become a lecturer,’ she said.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Sthabiso Mkhonza