By Aydn Parrott
“I sometimes fail to believe stories that are told after the storm, I prefer hearing them during the storm”FirstRand scholarship recipient Singalakha Menziwa
Singalakha Menziwa is currently enrolled for an MPhil in Mathematical Finance at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. His studies are funded by FirstRand. The aspiring Quantitative Analyst, who also has done work as a Mathematician, says he envisions himself eventually becoming a ”self-made millionaire and African leader.”
“Africa needs reliable, confident, and transparent leaders. Growing up I never liked politics” Singalakha says, “but now that I have realized how my entire life is reliant on the government and my country’s economy, I cannot afford to be negligent.” Singalakha explains that we all have a role to play in the progress of our continent, Africa.
Speaking about support received for his studies, Singalakha says, “I have been lucky to be funded by different companies throughout my studies. It is heart-warming to be able to study and choose any study programme at the university of your choice without having to think twice about the related fees.” He adds, “doing what I enjoy has helped me bring the best of myself and grow in many areas such as leadership.”
“I was amazed by the fact that my bursaries paid for my transport expenses [flights, buses, fuel allowance when I was driving] for travelling from home to the university and for returning home again,” Singalakha exclaims. Singalakha also highlights the fact that his bursaries paid for programmes for personal growth and mentorship. “There was an abundance of support for all student related needs,” Singalakha adds.
According to him, “such financial assistance brings your dreams into reality. The added student wellness and traveling expenses support make it much easier for students to succeed and enjoy their university days. Traveling support will get you into those flying things up there in the sky.”
Among the benefits of the development programmes, Singalakha mentions networks, internships, webinars and mentorship, as well as the workshops every semester. Singalakha also mentions the Leadership Development Webinars, as well as extracurricular activities at the university, and residence leadership positions.
“I did not have the means to pay for my university fees and I wanted to be visible to South Africa’s top companies to share with them my skills and abilities,” Singalakha says about the benefits of his bursaries. He says the funding allowed him a platform to show South Africa’s top companies his, “offer for the progress of our country’s economy and the company’s success in the future.”
To this end, Singalakha says that applying for a scholarship offers exposure even if you are not successful on the first attempt. “FirstRand accepted me on my second attempt,” he explains. Singalakha says, “I am very grateful to the people I have encountered throughout my life (naming the individuals will result in an infinite list) and to Africademics for this initiative to share our stories in action. I sometimes fail to believe stories that are told after the storm, I prefer hearing them during the storm”.
Aydn Parrott is a freelance writer and storyteller and currently serves as Programme Manager of the Africademics Scholarship Ambassador Programme. He also runs the ‘Power of Thought’ blog: https://powerofthoughtblog.wordpress.com/