Student Letters to Link-SA Trust

Graduate, BSc Hons (Chemistry), Rhodes Mr. Mbaba Mziyanda

I am eternally grateful to Link-SA funders for all their support, not just for this year, but for all the preceding years. Without your help, and given my background, I probably wouldn’t even have a degree by now and I would not have got so close to achieving my lifelong dream of being able to contribute towards the fight against diseases crippling Africa.

May you keep on doing good work, helping students like me, and inspiring other young Africans who share the same dream of making Africa a better continent.

5th Year, Medicine, Stellenbosch University Mr Wanda Matyobeni

My name is Wanda Matyobeni, going into final year medicine at Stellenbosch. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Link-SA for the financial support granted this year. Where I come from, the majority of people do not hold out hopes of a tertiary education, let alone study for a medical degree because of financial and other environmental factors. The money granted to me went a long way in assisting with fees and accommodation.

If it was not for the Administrative Secretary at Link-SA Trust who allowed me the finances firstly to register, and secondly to help with fees, my year would not have been possible. My parents cannot afford to pay for my fees but I was determined to study because I felt passionate about this profession. Coming from Khayalitsha Township with parents that are both pensioners with ill health, there was no hope that my dream would have come true. The day I was turned away at Registration in January, I gave up hope and thought that I should accept my situation and drop out of university, but the very same day I was informed by Ms Lewis at the university that I had received the Link-SA scholarship. I can still remember her words when she phoned me: “Mr Matyobeni, I have good news. Link-SA have granted you a scholarship of R30 000.” You will never know how I felt that day! The block the Fees office had put in place against me was lifted immediately and I could register. I again express my most sincere gratitude for the funds allocated to me and the years Link-SA have sponsored me.

2nd year, BSc, Rhodes University Ms Aviwe Njumbuxa

I studied to the best of my might and made it into the university’s top 15% achievers regarding academic studies. This lead to an offer to join the Golden Key Honour Society which I accepted.

Although I have received much appreciated encouragement from my family and the university, at times I felt like giving up. What has kept me going is the picture of being a qualified Forensic Scientist, able to devote my life to my first passion. Other aspirations are directly connected to my degree and would be in the field of chemistry, utilising my problem solving skills. The conservation field of research is another field that I am considering; that, or Applied Chemistry in the inorganic field.

Graduated BSc Honours in Statistics with Distinction, Rhodes University. Mafu Masakheke

This year was my first time as the recipient of the Link-SA scholarship and without it, I would not have been able to cope with the burden of finding a way to pay my fees at the end of the year. It was because of your assistance that I felt so strong and inspired to do well in my studies. I want to say thank you very much! I have managed to complete my Honours degree without worry of debt.

As a student I have always had to hitch-hike because I cannot afford bus tickets every time I need to go home. This generally is not a safe way to travel. Nevertheless, I do it because I have no choice. Sometimes it rains so hard you can barely go outside but since students have to leave our residences at specific times when the accommodation is needed for visitors, I find myself walking in the rain and trying to hitch-hike. It is a horrible experience, but again, what can one do?! There are academic societies like Golden Key which require a student to pay a joining fee in order to be recognised and thus given a certificate. I have received emails from Golden Key, asking me to join because of my successes at university, but I have been unable to pay.

Last but not least, having seen the need to help students learn more about my field of study, I have decided that it would be prudent to expand my knowledge in this regard by pursuing a Masters degree in the next two years, so as to help these students understand this field better. All this will be possible if I get funding for my studies. My future aspiration as a statistician is to help future generations obtain a better understanding of Statistics, thus contributing to the development of South Africa. I will forever be indebted to Link-SA for the assistance, and I hope you will continue to help other students in future.

Year 4, Veterinary Sc, Onderstepoort Campus, University of Pretoria. Ms M Smit

This year gave me the opportunity to give a little to the community. I realise – each day – that this is one of a vet’s prime responsibilities; it is also one of our profession’s major privileges. We have the ability to influence the people around us. We cannot make critical changes to the world and its state on our own; we need the people in the world to want to change it in order to make even an infinitesimal difference. And we have the power to open people’s eyes – we only have to choose to use it!

My chance to give came in the form of a talk I gave to a group of children from the Doxa Deo Edenvale Independent School. The core of the talk revolved around the role of a vet – Why are we needed? What makes it important for us to be around? What do we actually do? To see understanding and interest light up the faces of those Grade R children gave me chills, good chills. Sometimes I think that this experience taught me more about life than all the other lessons combined. The children’s yearning for new information and their joy of learning were tangible. It is something I will never forget. We must never take the opportunity to be able to learn for granted, it is a gift – not just a “given”.

The most important thing this year has taught me is that life is fleeting. Memories are embedded in our hearts and minds, not to remind us of all the things that are lost or the things in which we failed. They are there to keep a record of all the times we triumphed over adversity, all the times we made a leap of faith and succeeded. They are there to allow us closure and to encourage us to reach higher. We store our life lessons as memories because they enable us to overcome our fears, they enable us to be brave, to hope!

Thank you.

Faculty of Pharmacy, Rhodes University Ms Akhona Ngqolongo

I was at home on vacation when I discovered that I had been awarded the scholarship from Link-SA and so I could experience the joy that my family could also experience. With this scholarship I know I am capable of getting where I want to be. This has opened my eyes to what I and my faith in God are capable of.

This year I plan again to be among the top 15% achievers. I also plan on obtaining my degree in the prescribed four year period. I say this because I have heard many speak of how impossible it is to do it within the four years for this degree, but I plan on being one of those who graduate within the allotted time. I would like to go on to studying Medicine, as I have always dreamed of becoming a doctor.

5th year Medicine, University of Stellenbosch Unathi Dyantyi

I am a fifth year medical student at Stellenbosch University. After gaining my degree, my next ambition is to help the underprivileged in need of medical attention by using my training.

I come from an informal settlement near Stellenbosch. I am the eldest of three siblings. My mother is a domestic worker and my dad can’t work due to a chronic lung ailment. The financial assistance you are providing is a great help to my family as they cannot afford tuition fees. Without your help, I would be another statistic of students who drop out of university due to financial constraints.

My final exams went well and I have passed all modules.

BSc Env & Geology, 2nd year, University of Cape Town. Mr Lunga Mapekula

I hail from the rural Eastern Cape where I was born and bred. Growing up in a family of four that was raised by a single parent taught me to appreciate hard work, the power of generosity and of sharing. This year I was undertaking my second year studies at the University of Cape Town with Geology and Environmental and Geographical Sciences being majors. In the first semester I did three courses. I took up Oceanography as an elective and also continued with my majors.

I would like to extend gratitude to the sponsors of the Link-SA Trust for allowing me to further my studies through to my third year. It has helped ameliorate my financial challenges for the academic year.

I hope by all means to make use of this opportunity and better myself, and others, academically.

Physiotherapy year 3, University of the Western Cape. Charnay Habelgaarn

Firstly I would like to thank Link-SA with all my heart for contributing to my future as a Physiotherapist.

All my blocks have been great this year, particularly at Conradie Care Clinic and Gugulethu Clinic in Cape Town. I felt a sense of achievement at the end of these blocks as my patients showed definite improvement – the optimal goal for a health professional. This stamped the seal for me on my choice that Physiotherapy truly is the career for me. What greater reward is there than helping someone else achieve a better way of life?

Graduate of Wits Medical School Dr Waunita Naidoo

Yesterday, I officially became a doctor!

I woke up this morning smiling, as I reflected on the past six years of my life. I have had many challenges. I have struggled both academically and personally. For every stumble and fall, I have had great moments to balance these with successes, and the outcome is that I am a better person than I ever imagined I would be!

I would like to extend my heart-felt gratitude to Link-SA and its contributors for your continued support throughout my university education, and ultimately my career. I would not be where I am but for the generous assistance of Link-SA.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, Pretoria University. Year 3 Tiaan Visser

Fellow students and I were a part of a project where we provided free veterinary services to the impoverished community of Hammanskraal north of Pretoria. We went from door to door and offered to de-worm and vaccinate pets. The good thing about that day was we got to teach people the very basics about animal diseases and the need for sterilizing their dogs.

I also attended a congress in the Kruger National Park, subsidised by the university. In addition to learning more about wildlife, we learnt a lot about the economy and livestock in the farming community. I also learnt about darting of game so that animals can be tagged, and samples of blood taken for analysis before they are released back into the game reserve. In my spare time I volunteer at a local animal hospital in the ICU ward.

This year was amazing because all the puzzle pieces are starting to come together. I feel more and more equipped to be a good veterinary surgeon one day soon.

BSc Biomedical Science, Year 2, Wits University. Nqobile Prudence Maboke

Although I had challenges in my academics, it didn’t stop me from participating in sports and serving the residence that I live in. I played netball and was on the sports sub-committee. I was recently elected into the student academic office where I plan to initiate academic programmes that will improve the performance of students.

It is an honour and a privilege to be one of your bursary recipients. You gave me the best gift any student could wish for by providing me with hope for my future, for I will succeed!

3rd year, Dentistry, UWC Caryn Nasson

In August I volunteered amongst thirteen other students studying dentistry at UWC to do an outreach in Du Noon. It was quite surprising on the turn out of people in the community seeking dental care. The outreach started at 8 am and ended at about 5pm. We were based at a school with minimal equipment so it was challenging at times, but we made the best out of the day. The patients who were seen mainly needed extractions and fillings. This was quite a learning curve for me as I was just recently exposed to do extractions. However, on the outreach I got a lot of advice and practice which helped me in the clinical setting. Overall, I would say that the outreach was the most successful event of the year and I will definitely volunteer again next year, as it taught me that Dentistry extends much further than a dental practice and also the importance of community dentistry.

3rd Year, Medicine, UCT Naledi Fodo

My name is Naledi Fodo and I am one of the recipients of your bursaries and attend UCT’s Medical School. I am one of very few women in my family who has made it to university. I have always wanted to get out of my home situation of poverty and lack of education. All my life people have warned me that dreams like that are too far fetched and that dreaming is but a waste of time. No one believed in me except my mother.. and now Link-SA Trust! You gave me HOPE: a four letter word that is the difference between doing nothing with my life, and working towards becoming a doctor.

I have a dream that one day I will have the honour of taking another child out of a hopeless situation and raising them as my own. One day, my life story and passion for others will inspire more of the girls in my family and community and also the next generation. This fire and passion will not just stay burning with me, but will spread throughout my community.

Thank you, enkosi, ndiyabulela.

Graduate, BSc Physiotherapy, UCT Sibonile Msomi (Ms)

I graduated this year! If it wasn’t for financial aid I do not know where I would be right now. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. It was an amazing feeling for me. It really encouraged me to work hard. Thank you so much Link SA, and especially the donor to Memorial Grant especially set up for students studying physiotherapy. As I now go out into the Health Care system as a professional, I hope you will be proud of me!

Graduate, Dentistry, UWC Dr Reyna Ranchod

BchD5 was the most practical and clinical year in my studies. I was placed in the Mitchells Plain Mellomed Hospital as well as Tygerberg Hospital. This year has been extremely exciting as I have had the opportunity to work on the Transnet Phelophepa Train for two weeks. We were based in the Northern Cape in a small town called Prieska. We managed to help many people in poverty stricken areas where dental care is unavailable. “The Train” also had students who were studying Psychology, Nursing, Optometry, and Pharmacy, from various institutions in South Africa.

I was also very privileged to go on an outreach programme to Scotsdiene. On a Thursday evening our Faculty organises two 4th year and one 5th year students to go on a mobile clinic and help provide dental treatment to the people of this community. We worked from 5 p.m. till 8pm or until all of the patients were attended to. I also went to Montagu Clinic over a weekend for an outreach programme. Occasionally on a Monday and Friday we went to Gugulethu to help out in the Dental Clinic. The majority of the treatment done on these outreaches is extractions.

Once again, I am truly grateful to Link-SA for providing me with a scholarship. I have now completed my degree and will be assigned to do community service at a clinic in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.

3rd year, Pharmacy, UWC Marcus Dimakatso Legodi

I have been involved in a few committees this year because I wanted to assist those less fortunate. I am the co-chair of behaviour and environmental awareness in the Green Campus Initiative in UWC and the chairperson of the School of Pharmacy Ball Committee, which is a fundraising committee. The experience I had in these committees has been wonderful because I enjoy interacting with people of different cultures and backgrounds to share ideas that can make a difference. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to further my studies and having hope by investing in me.

Year 5, Stellenbosch University Medical School Natasha Chancellor Maddison

My studies are better than ever before, my marks have risen significantly. I attribute this directly to your assistance as I have been a lot less anxious about finances and have been able to channel that time and energy into my studies.

I attended another successful mission with Operation Smile to Kinshasa in the DRC in June this year, where 124 life-changing surgeries were performed. I assisted in 5 surgeries in my capacity as a medical student.

While all the surgeries are life-changing I would like to share one in particular with you. A 56 year old woman from a village in the forests to the north of Kinshasa arrived with a severe bilateral cleft and malignant hypertension. This woman had never been out of her village before, had never seen a white person and was unable to speak any of the languages spoken in the area. She received her surgery under local anaesthesia as her blood pressure did not allow her to be sedated. I assisted the surgeon, a South African who required someone he could communicate with well so that not one drop of blood would enter her throat and cause problems. Seventy five minutes after we started her surgery we removed her drapes and handed her a mirror. A quiet tear ran down her face. The next day we were able to find someone who spoke her language and was able to translate her words. She said: - “I am finally beautiful for my children”.

Without the support I have received from my donors and the relationship built with Link-SA my story would not have a happy ending. I am able to fulfil my potential and be the change I want to see in the world. Thank you again for equipping me. May your quiet generosity be returned seven-fold in all the ways it truly counts!

Faculty of Engineering (Construction Management), Cape Peninsula of Technology. M Lubilo

I extend my total gratitude for the contribution that you have made towards my university fees.

I have learnt that, in order to acquire anything in life, you need to be committed, dedicated and passionate in achieving your goals. I have learnt how to function effectively within a group and as an individual whilst under pressure.

Having people who are supportive in my life in a spiritual, emotional, financial, academic, and social manner made it possible for me to reach this point.

4th year, Medicine, Stellenbosch University. Kurt O'Neill

This year has been a challenge but a challenge I would easily do over again. There have been many late nights studying and lots of hard graft but they have all been worth it because the rewards that come with being a medical student working and experiencing South Africa from a medical perspective are priceless. Earlier this year we did a Hospital module in Brooklyn Chest hospital in Cape Town as part of our Paediatrics rotation. This is a TB specialist hospital that treats both adults and children. Whilst working there I was exposed to a lot of children with Multi-Drug resistant TB.

The saddest thing I have ever experienced whilst working in the Hospitals is watching innocent little children take their TB and HIV medication. Every morning without fail over the last 2 weeks I've witnessed how a group of children at Brooklyn Chest Hospital, between the ages of 3 and 8, line up to be handed a cup full of, up to 12, tablets which they have to swallow, and successfully keep down, before they can start their day. The tablets are usually the size of a grown man's nail and are often really nasty tasting. Never the less, these little kids have the most amazing coping mechanisms.

Thank you all so much once again. I am so excited for the future and all the possibilities and I hope to one day be to give back in the same way.

Wits Medical School Victoria Mokwena

Our community site project was based in a township called Braamfischerville in Johannesburg, and although I also grew up in a township, the experience there was quite remarkable. It was very interesting to see how different people responded to certain situations. For example, the idea of having 50 pupils in one classroom was not new to me, in fact it felt quite normal. However, some of my colleagues were quite shocked by this as most of them had been to private schools and had never been in a township before. Some moments were touching to all of us such as meeting a disagled child who could not attend school anymore due to the lack of infrastructure to accommodate disabled people.

This, in conclusion, I would like to say that I had a number of first time experiences, the good outweighing the bad, and I had a good year. Also, part of all these phenomenal experiences was witnessing the joy that was brought into my home when my family realised that I was living out what I hgad been talking about ever since I was in primary school: I am studying Medicine!

I would like to thank Link-SA for sponsoring me again this year. Your efforts are highly appreciated by both me and my family.

Wits Medical School, 3rd year. Ms Humaira Bulbulia

In the past year I made good use of the clinical skills taught on hospital days by going out into the informal settlement of Lahae and conducting health screenings among the more disadvantaged who cannot afford to go out to clinics and get screened. The screening process included checking blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and BMI. I went on to do the same for my immediate community where I reside in Lenasia. The health screening experience made me realise just how important giving back is to the community and how grateful they are for it.

Once again a sincere thank you goes out to all at Link-SA and I will do my best to use this opportunity well and make you proud.

Naressa Govender Graduate, B Pharmacy, Rhodes University

This year has been my final year of study toward a pharmacy degree. I have received a job offer from Clicks. I am really excited about starting work and being independent.

When I started my studies at Rhodes University, it was not easy for me, as I had to learn to adapt to a new environment and do everything for myself. I missed home a lot and that was my biggest challenge, but as the years progressed I made many friends in Grahamstown. I was a part of the pharmacy society (RUPSA) which has constantly reached out to the community and extended their help. One of their projects is pharmacy week where people from the community come to have their blood pressure taken, and generally receive advice from pharmacists and students.

Words cannot express my gratitude toward the Link-SA Fund. Thank you.

Final Year, Pharmacy, Rhodes University. Thato Mathabathe

My final year of a bachelor of pharmacy degree has come with its many challenges. Thanks to the contribution by Link SA, only a few of those challenges were financial. The majority of the challenges I faced were in the form of academic deadlines and a massive workload. Now at the end I can safely say I have passed each challenge.

The community engagement that I had the pleasure of being a part of was integrated into my fourth year practicals. This involved going out into the community and aiding people with non communicable diseases such as hypertension, asthma and diabetes. We went to the patient’s home and assessed their situations in relation to their disease. This enabled us to be able to effectively plan a treatment regime suited for their condition. This experience also had the extra blessing of meeting new people from different backgrounds which, in turn, has taught me life lessons that will aid me in future practice as a pharmacist.

I have also been able to take part in programmes that involved old age homes that are in the area. These educational programmes focused on the elderly and ailments that they are likely to suffer from. It was a privilege for me to put back into the community and in particular also learning from the wisdom that they offered to me. This particular experience helped me to gain patience and understanding of people who are of a different generation from me. One has to find within oneself lot of patience when dealing with elderly people, and our generation needs to respect that people have problems in their declining years. This experience will once again build into my future practice as a pharmacist and for that I am truly grateful.

Third Year, BSc, Rhodes University. Mziyanda Mbaba

The Dean of Science granted me approval to do a triple major in chemistry, biochemistry and mathematics. However, I realised that a clash of subjects would mean having to drop Maths. I did so reluctantly because I truly enjoyed it throughout my university career. Choosing chemistry and biochemistry as my major subjects seemed relevant to my ultimate goal of doing medical research since these subjects form the fundamentals and principles of medicine.

In addition to my academic work, I tutored mathematics for first year pharmacy students which taught me to balance my work with extramural activities. Knowing that I was helping other students inspired me deeply in my academic work and, in a way, it helped me nourish my seemingly ever-existing ‘craving’ for maths. In my residence, Jan Smuts House, I was an academic mentor for maths and chemistry in the academic mentorship . I was also part of the Upstart Community Engagement Programme which seeks to engage university students with children from the Grahamstown.

As a third year student, I have had a great opportunity to meet, engage and make friends with interesting people from different backgrounds. I have learnt to be connected and open to people around me on a more personal level.I was thrilled when I got a letter saying that I have been provisionally offered a place to study Chemistry Honours next year. I am determined to come back next year for Chemistry Honours.

Most importantly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Link-SA Trust for giving me the opportunity to study this year with the help of your funding towards my studies. It has really lessened the burden on my family and has inspired me to work even harder. I should admit that I would not have made this far if it weren’t for your generosity and kindness. I wish you would extend the same generosity to even more students who may be in the same position as me or worse.


Graduate, BSc Honours, Rhodes University A Mfuku

I have gained a huge amount of knowledge about conducting a scientific study, laboratory skills, time management as well as the ability to work effectively under pressure. Thanks to the degree I have now obtained, I regard myself as a passionate, educated, patient, and hard-working individual. I hope the knowledge gained at Rhodes University will help to change the country’s current situation for the better.

As Nelson Mandela stressed “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe I would not have been able to achieve my goal without the aid from Link-SA. Thank you!

Medical School, Audiology, University of the Western Cape. Nyasha Makaruse

To make a long story short, my mother who is a single parent with a job paying less than R5000/month was supposed to raise the entire outstanding fee by January 14, or else I was not going to progress to second year. This was practically impossible as she had already exhausted all options which included borrowing R5 000 from her brother and applying for a loan from Standard Bank which was denied. In fact without receiving financial support I was not going to progress to second year though I had shown great potential in my first year. Your help came at the most critical time and it really means a lot to me as I will now be allowed to register for second year and pursue my dream of becoming an Audiologist. Furthermore it has cleared the stresses and anxiety my mother and I have been experiencing this whole year.

Once again, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all the trustees. I promise to work very hard and at some point in the future be able to give something back to others, either as a volunteer, Audiologist, or possibly support a scholarship for future students like myself. Please feel free to share my thanks and story with others in your organisation. I would be honoured to help you raise more funds for more students.

University of Stellenbosch – Law Grant Arendse

My goal is not just to get my degree and make money, but to help my community to develop and reach its potential. I come from a community filled with crime and poverty and it's sad to see how some people have to live in these circumstances. I know I cannot change those circumstances but I still want to try. I want to try and improve the life of those who weren't given a chance. And I am so grateful that God gave me the chance to maybe one day be in that position to help those who are in need. I will never forget where I come from because it made me the person who I am today. And I am proud.

B Bus Sc, University of Cape Town. Simbiso Chipidza

I remember a number of times I wanted to give up because I felt that I did not have the capacity as a person to surmount the challenges I faced. In those moments I remembered that there are people from Link SA whom I have never met and possibly will never meet in my life time, who believed in me enough to fund my education so I could realise my dream. That thought alone pulled me through. So firstly, thank you for believing in me.

Throughout the year I was actively involved with SHAWCO at UCT and tutored underprivileged children from townships. As I listened to their plight, dreams and aspirations, I realised that at some point I was one of those children, with only a dream that I thought I would never realise. I am closer to it now than I ever was and I appreciate how Link-SA has been instrumental in getting me to this position.

I pray that Link-SA, and my special sponsor, Mr Robert Gould, will continue to do the wonderful job that they are doing. Not only am I thankful for the monetary value of the funding, but also what that funding allowed me to experience throughout my years at UCT. Words are simply not enough to express my gratitude, but I hope and pray that I will be in a position to give back and empower others in the same way that Link-SA has empowered me.

University of Stellenbosch – Physiotherapy. Martin Zhou

Just at the point when I wanted to fully give up as other options were narrowing and I was heading to a dead end, Mrs P Lewis in the Health Science Faculty at Stellenbosch called me in August and told me that she had wonderful news for me, that Link-SA was going to support me. I could not believe it, I could not stop smiling and ever since then I have not forgotten that day. I have not forgotten how you have helped and I am thankful for what you have done for me. You made my year good despite that I had a challenging beginning, but I am able to face the end of the year with courage and hope.

The support you gave me was beyond extraordinary compassion. It motivated me so much that I am now a volunteer member of CANSA, helping and educating people about cancer.

Thanks to you I have come to understand that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving and that when one is in darkness other extraordinary people are out there to act as candles in dark times. Finally, that one good turn deserves another.

University of Stellenbosch – Medicine Fezile Manzini

I am extremely grateful for another year that Link-SA has sponsored my education, I realise from the depth of my heart that it is your continued generosity towards me and other students that will allow us to change the home circumstances and the communities that we come from. I will never forget the financial crisis that I was in and how you lifted me out of that situation. My heart is filled with gratitude and I do not know how to thank you enough.

I got my results this year and they were very good. I also got a distinction for one of my modules and I am excited to say that next year I will be in 5th year! The module I experienced hardship with this year was Forensic Medicine. I really had to change my attitude and study a lot harder than ever before. It wasn't an area of interest for me and so applying myself became a challenge. However I did conquer and, as the saying goes "your attitude determines your altitude" is true for me.

I realise the road to success is long and can get tough along the way but I am grateful that I have God, my family, Link-SA and friends to help achieve my goal.

University of Stellenbosch – Medicine. Mari Gildenhuys

I am pleased to be part of a group of students supported by such an organisation. It's nice to know that you are specifically interested in students and making their dreams come true. I must admit this makes me feel so much more special than a bursary from a commercial enterprise.

I am looking forward to one day returning your kindness that you have bestowed upon me by contributing to your wonderful organisation, as you have really had an impact on my life.

My year has started out really busy! I'm currently on Paediatrics and they tend to have the longest ward rounds of all the medical students. I am really interested in it though, as I am thinking about doing my elective on the topic of emotional or physical abuse of children and what impact that has on their future development. We had a little Marasmic Kwashiorkor baby earlier, and it broke my heart to see the little child in a state like that. Poverty seems to breed poverty as they say.

Thank you for enabling me to attend medical school so that I can help society – it sounds so very corny but I cannot express it in any other way. In the end you provide South Africans with doctors, dentists, scientists, lawyers and the list goes on.

University of Stellenbosch – Law. Clireesh Terry Cloete

I want to thank the trustees, and all who were involved in the selection process, for the opportunity to complete the second year of my four year LLB course. I do not think words can ever be enough to bring across how thankful I am because this which you have given me is more than financial help. It is an opportunity to make a success out of my life so I can be in the position to make a change.

I was brought up in a small town in the Northern Cape Namaqualand district in a Christian home which formed me into the person I am today. During the years I spent at home I have always had the desire to help others and as I grew up and started having dreams of my own I became more aware of the socio economic circumstances of my community and saw how the vicious cycle of poverty, lack of knowledge and lack of defence is passed on from generation to generation, leaving our people strained with few opportunities. As I became more aware of this, my desire to make a difference became stronger and from then on I dedicated myself to try to make a success out of my life so I can be in the position to make a change. I believe that everyone has a purpose to fulfil and that mine is to help, support and defend the defenceless, the voiceless and those in need.

University of Pretoria Dr Grant van Lelyveld (BVSc)

I have some great news; I am now Dr G van Lelyveld, BVSc! What a journey! I am so pleased that I have done it. I have completed one of the most difficult degrees out there, gone through sleepless nights and sad moments regarding animals brought to Onderstepoort, but I would not change it for all the tea in China. Now I can start the next part of my life – putting my training to use in the Real World!

It was great fun and I must thank Link-SA and Joan Brown for their help in making it come true. I really appreciate everything that you have all done for me.

University of Stellenbosch – Law Regomoditswe Baloyi

One of the greatest moments in my life was when I received my acceptance letter from the University of Stellenbosch, informing me that I had been accepted into the LLB programme. I knew from that moment that that was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life, the first step to making a real difference in the lives of the citizens of our country and being part of the ensemble that ensures that the law of our country is constructed in such a way that represents the best interests of every individual of our country. This certainly has, ever since, ensured that I have the opportunity to be trained by some of the best legal practitioners to be a strong and competent attorney.

The road is, however, not an easy one to travel. I have already completed my first and second years of the four-year programme Getting through my first year and second year was not easy at all. There were so many changes that I needed to adjust to; the difference in workload from high school, setting up residence away from home and family, making new friends, meeting new lecturers, managing my own time and the list goes on. I did not let these obstacles stand in the way of my academic performance. There were times when I felt so discouraged and overwhelmed by the work that I thought I would never make it through my first year, but then I thought to myself: "no-one ever said that the road would be easy", but the rewards at the end of the day and knowing that I will one day be in a position to serve South Africans in the best possible way, is what makes the pain and the journey all the more bearable and pleasant. With only two years to go until I graduate, the future looks certain.

As mentioned above, as a patriotic South African, I would like to serve my country and its people to the best of my abilities and fortunately my chosen career path brings me closer to my dream. My inspiration in the field of law is motivated by my desire to serve my country and to see to it that the independence of the judiciary is sustained. As our constitution is the only tool available to protect all individuals equally, it is vitally important to have the most competent practitioners at all times to ensure that our constitution is not abused, disrespected and that its principles are upheld and interpreted correctly to the interests of the public.

BSc Viticulture & Oenology, Stellenbosch University. Alex Phillips – Graduated cum laude

I would like to start by thanking Link-SA for the investment you have made in my life over the last four years. I, my family and people around me have been amazed that strangers will selflessly give to help other people – no strings attached. As I graduate this year I look back on a period of self growth, finding the right path in life for my career, and making big decisions. It is both exciting and scary to face the big wide world, but I am ready to start “giving back”. I want to help those less fortunate when I am in a financial position to do so.

I hope that Link-SA will continue to build into the lives of students like me, and in so doing, add value to the beautiful and diverse country of South Africa.

Rhodes University – Pharmacy Thato Mathabathe

Regarding the challenges faced this year, the year has been smooth with the only challenge at times being having enough money left over for groceries after paying rent, as I am not in a residence. However difficult those times were I am grateful that I have managed to come through these tough times and successfully write my exams. I am a pharmacy student commencing the fourth year of study. My ambitions are simple really. I would like to study towards a master's degree in Pharmaco-economics and ultimately become an expert in the field. South Africa lacks the expertise of qualified pharmaco-economists and this has led to an increase in the portion of the national health budget allocated to purchase medicines. This is more than 50% of the overall budget. I aspire to reduce this percentage by half, moving it closer to the level of developed countries. The main reason for the high percentage seen in South Africa is that there is a lack of pharmacological research linked with economic factors in drug selection. As a future pharmaco-economist, I believe that the health budget can be used more efficiently to improve the country's health infrastructure and in acquiring more qualified personnel. This can be done through reduction of the percentage spent on medicines and has been proven to work for developed countries. I will certainly achieve my dreams.

University of Stellenbosch – Medicine. Laykin Weitz

Becoming a doctor was my dream from the very start. I'm not sure why exactly – all I know is I love helping people in need. Thank you for supporting me this year and supporting my dream. It means the world to me that I know there are still people out there that do care. It warms my heart and I can't wait to give back to the community as Link-SA does.

Stellenbosch University Medical School Graduate Dr Jacques Liebenberg

Thanks for your input in my life. I have managed to successfully complete my degree Cum Laude for which I am very grateful. I have also been awarded the following prizes:

  1. Best student in Health and Diseases in the Community.
  2. Best student in Family Medicine and Primary Care.
  3. Best student in Paediatrics.
  4. Best student in Surgery.
  5. Highest marks in the class for the late clinical rotation – average of 80%.

I am also privileged enough to have my script, named "Rheumatic Fever; a South African Perspective" accepted to be presented at the World Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Congress at the CTICC in Cape Town in February where delegates from all over the world will be attending.

I have been selected by my class as the person they would most likely approach to be their family's doctor one day. I won a Littmann Master Cardiology stethoscope, one that I have wanted for a long time!

Graduate, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School. Dr Stacey Richards

It almost seems unreal to me that I have finally concluded my degree. This was so much more than just a degree to me – it was my lifelong dream. I have grown so much as a person over the past 6 years and this is just such a priceless gift, one I may not have been able to receive had it not been for your generous support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always supporting me through my studies. I could never put into words just how much that means to me!

Each patient interaction in the hospital taught me something. Every smile from a patient filled my heart with joy and reinforced why this has been my lifetime dream and passion. I feel even more strongly now than ever that this is the most incredible occupation and I am so incredibly lucky to have been able to have secured a place in medicine to pursue this dream.

I promise you that I will go on to be the best doctor that I can be and I can assure you that your investment in me will benefit those I treat in the future. I promise to conduct myself in an ethical and respectable manner and most of all I promise to make you proud.

I have so much respect for Link-SA Trust and their generous investment in the lives of students. It is just proof that there truly are incredible people in the world.

Thank you for believing in me and for helping me along the way with my studies. Link-SA will always hold a special place in my heart for all that you have done for me. I promise that I will invest in the precious lives of people in turn.

University of Stellenbosch – Graduate, LLB. Felicia Spangenberg

I wish to make use of the opportunity to thank a very dear friend of mine who supported me emotionally and cared for me dearly the past couple of years, who always stayed in touch and cared about my well-being (physical as well as emotionally) and whether I had sufficient food. She believed in my capability to successfully complete my degree. This year my mission was to make her proud. Joan Brown, you are truly a guardian angel Thank you for being the wonderful person that you are!

Then there are my parents. Thus far they haven't had things easily. They've gone through a great deal of disappointment and bad luck, and I know that it has hurt them deeply that they could not pay for my education - that all they could give me was a shoulder to cry on when the going got tough. And I know it is important for parents that they should provide in a child's every need, regardless their age.

University of Stellenbosch – Physiotherapy, Marinique Wakens

I come from a family with a poor financial background. My dad is the only breadwinner, my mum is a housewife and we are three children; my grandmother also lives with us. My older brother and I are still studying and my younger brother is going to high school next year. My dad's salary is not enough to help us with our studies and still provide for the family.

Link SA made it possible for me to study this year and I passed all my subjects well; two of them with distinction. The high point that I experienced during the year was when our second year class went to hospital to do our clinical module. It was interesting because we got the chance to see real patients. We learned how to interview them to find out about their history and also saw patients with different diseases that we are going to deal with one day such as stroke patients and bone fractures etc. The other high point was when we worked with the cadavers; this made it easier for us to learn the anatomy of the body because we dissected them by ourselves. We also saw how the body really looks inside like the veins, arteries, nerves etc.

University of the Western Cape – B.Sc. Physiotherapy. Jaime Crowie

Next year we will have to complete a community service year, working at a health institution, anywhere in the country. I was fortunate to have been placed in the Western Cape, allowing me to stay home, and focus on working as a health professional. I will be working at the Brooklyn TB Chest Clinic, and I am very excited to start this year, with all the opportunities that come along with it. My biggest aspiration for the year is to take all the opportunities granted to me. To further prepare myself for the future, and continue to learn, in order to become the best physiotherapist I can be.

After results are released, it will be confirmed whether I passed, but God willing, I will send a picture of myself in a graduation gown. Once this is done, I hope that you will be truly proud of me, my achievements, and that you may be assured that your gratitude and financial aid and support have not been taken for granted.

University of Stellenbosch – Medicine. Ricardo Leibrandt

My name is Ricardo Leibrandt and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for granting me a scholarship. I'm extremely grateful for it. The scholarship has made this year so much easier. It is with much gratitude and relief that I have successfully completed my 5th year and am looking forward to my final year of medical studies.

My mother is unemployed and my father is therefore the sole provider for our family of four. I have a younger sister who is studying B.Com at UWC and she is in her 1st year. As a result of the two of us furthering our education it has been extremely difficult for my father to support our family financially, but with my Link-SA Trust scholarship it has contributed to alleviating the financial burden that my family faces. As a result of this scholarship I have had the opportunity to continue my studies.

University of Stellenbosch – Medicine. Nicole Lodewyks

Psychiatry was incredibly scary and funny. The doctors were entertaining, with each of them having extreme personality differences. The patients sadly were affected by things such as drugs and terrible home circumstances. It was eye-opening to see this first-hand. It was a scary experience but I felt that I was able to learn a lot in this practical block.

With all this said, I know that without your financial assistance, the aforementioned learning experience would not have been possible. I truly thank you for the blessing of the much needed financial assistance that you have provided. Your continued support will undoubtedly help me to achieve my end goal next year in that I will enter my final year of medical studies with the University of Stellenbosch. Thank you for helping me to become the very best doctor that I can be. I hope to give back to my community.

Rhodes University – Pharmacy. Yolande Cawe

The most difficult situation I was faced with this year was my sister losing her job as she was the breadwinner in the family. That made me lose focus on my studies and I couldn't concentrate much. Academically the Pharmaceutics 3 November exam was the most difficult exam I have written this year. I felt as if I didn't know what I knew and what I didn't, and as a result I panicked and couldn't finish writing in time. One of the difficulties I was faced with when I got to varsity was transitioning from a high school setting to a university setting. It took me a while to adjust to varsity life and the style of lecturing.

I have been involved in many charity events in my residence which included visiting an old age home to plough vegetables in their garden and donating clothes and stationery to Eluxolweni children's home. Last year I was also involved in pharmacy week where I did things like measuring blood pressure, body mass index and eye testing.

University of the Witwatersrand – Graduate, B.Com IT Honours. Kamal Trikam

One of South Africa's biggest problems is unemployment, which points to the lack of entrepreneurship in this country. I aspire to become an entrepreneur in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the years to come, taking what the university has taught me, together with my own experiences and applying it to the world of business. Thanks again Link-SA Trust and Xstrata, I am very grateful for your assistance, as I know that without it I would not have an opportunity to complete my degree. By assisting me to complete my studies and enter the business world as a highly qualified individual, you are really assisting in building a better South Africa.

Rhodes University – Accounting and Economics. Masixole Pana

Outside of my academic requirements, I serve as a treasurer for Salisbury House and was tutoring Accounting 1G students and I am also a member of the Rhodes Pool Club. As a result of your R20 000 scholarship, I was able to cut my hours working during holidays and spend more time on my academics and helping high school students with Accounting and Economics. After graduation, I hope to further my education by enrolling for the Post Graduate Certificate in Education in order to share my knowledge.

University of Stellenbosch – Law. Herna van der Westhuijzen

This bursary afforded me the opportunity to pick up an extra subject this past year (Constitutional Property Law) and made it possible for me to attend a course in sign language. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and I am always willing and am keen to learn as much as I possibly can. Therefore I try my best to be actively on the lookout for opportunities to better myself.

This year I was a tutor for three different law subjects and taught 5 classes per week. This was one of the most valuable learning experiences since it taught me an immense amount of people-skills as well as prioritising my workload. This was probably the most challenging academic year of my university career thus far since post-graduate LLB is quite a full and challenging course. Despite the challenges, I managed to keep up my good academic results while teaching. I manage to train for and finish my first half-marathon.

University of Stellenbosch – Medical School Asma Banderker

I have passed all my clinical rotations. I went to Karl Bremer Hospital for Obstetrics which was an amazing experience. I was able to deliver 6 babies at this hospital which was both a terrifying and amazing experience. During my other rotations I learnt how to draw blood, put up a drip, sow stitches. I saw a hernia operation, gave injections and so much more. My examination skills are also so much better and I have really learnt a lot in such a short time. As the years go by, I become more and more passionate about becoming a doctor.

Rhodes University. B Khoya

I have big aspirations for the future and with dedication and an investment such as Link-SA, I know it is possible. My number one aspiration is to graduate with Accounting Honours (Summa Cum Laude) and get a good accounting contract for the three years of training. As a student at Rhodes and with its opportunities for development and growth, I hope to campaign for the Student Representative Council position of a Treasurer. This will serve as a way to sharpen my leadership skills. Next year I will be serving as Vice-Chairman of the Student Christian Organisation and Treasurer of Voice of Glory, societies at Rhodes. I also aspire to join the Golden Key society. I am part of the Debating team and hope to play Rhodes Rugby next season.

As I mentioned above, I’m part of the Debating Society, Voice of Glory and Student Christian Organisation Societies at Rhodes University. These societies are also involved in community engagement and to mention a few, we went to Eluxolweni Shelter Home, a shelter in Grahamstown to spend time with the boys and we even had a small Christmas party with them. We visit people in hospitals and spend quality time with them

BscAgric – Stellenbosch University Jonathan De Koker

I’ve learned so much about myself this year. When I arrived at University I was this scared kid from the Karoo, first time away from home. So as time passed I kept on getting strong mentally and I worked out what to do and not to do, who to associate with and who not. This year everything came together for me. I made many mistakes, but one goal kept me going: getting a degree. A lesson I will never forget is having friends that you can count on. I have two such friends, both from very different backgrounds, but we found a way to make it work. My final year at University made me stronger as a person and showed me how to stand on my own and to become a responsible adult, because after this I’m going into the real world to start a career. So all I can say is that I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.

Stellenbosch School of Medicine. Felize Manzini

During the holidays I am involved in a non profit Youth Development Organisation called Vulindlela Programme that I helped establish. Seeing the growth and achievement and the effort the people of the community have taken to make a success of this organisation moved my heart. I always speak to the youth in our community to inspire them to follow their dreams and to make it a reality. I have been involved with community work at a school, teaching grade 8 learners Emotional Intelligence.

I realized that I should study harder to become a successful doctor to support the poor in my community. During the June holidays I was also involved with the Holiday Club programme at my church and it’s so rewarding to plough back into the community.

MBChB IV - University of Stellenbosch. Sameera Hamdulay

I was very fortunate to have had the privilege to assisting on a mobile clinic which goes around to various farms in the area providing essential healthcare to farm workers as well as immunizations to babies who are unable to get to the main hospital in town. I drew immense fulfilment and a sense of spiritual upliftment when interacting with those who were in so much need.

South Africa is currently facing a great shortage of health care workers, specifically in the public sector. On completing my studies, I would like to continue serving those who are in such desperate need of healthcare – the patients of State Hospitals.

University of Kwa Zulu Natal. S Mzobe

Recently, one of the residence assistants in my University had come and informed me that as he was checking out the current students’ records on campus, he had discovered that I was the top performer out of a thousand students. I tell you the res. assistant couldn’t believe it and I myself couldn’t believe that I actually beat every single student on campus residence. Wow!

Another thing though, I had noticed during our math tutorials, our so called tutors don’t know how to solve some of the problems that students experience in mathematics. As a result every week, in order to help everyone out, the tutors usually ask me to go in front and explain the problem in depth and amazingly, all of my friends and others would follow along with understanding.

University of Kwa Zulu Natal. Siyabonga Wonderboy Mdletshe

There were times where I suffered so much, times of financial crisis. I realized that life sometimes in varsities is about money. There were times when I would have no one to ask for money, where I would go a day with an empty stomach. But I never gave up because I had a vision. I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew that was a commencement of a new life I expected since my first entry in varsity’s premises.

Academically, I did manage to pass all modules I was doing cleanly. That was an effort I put into every module. I never missed lectures, tutorials, tests and practicals I had since the year started. I perceived that to be able to pass I had to be independent, as I noted that the lecturers were there just to give us a clue. That helped me a lot working independently. I never got supplementations and I duly got good performances throughout the year and I am really proud of that.

I learnt a lot as a year went by. I learnt that any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment – the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is and that is to stand and fight for what he wants and never give up. And I also learnt that wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, whatever misfortune you may have suffered, the music of your life has not gone. It’s inside you if you listen to it, you can play it.

Rhodes University. Ondela Zweni

I received the most special letter ever in my life. I was invited to join a society called Golden Key International Society which is basically for the top 15% of Rhodes University. That was the pre-eminent moment of my university life because with this society you get recognised internationally and get preference over scholarships, internships, job employment. I do not have any words to describe how elated I was to have such an opportunity because I will be in this society for as long as I live, meaning I will pass this baton to the next generation.

Through it all I am still standing and looking forward to my next academic year. I promise not to disappoint with my results, as the book allowance allowed me to get all the textbooks I need. This was the best year and I would like to send my gratitude to you, Link SA. Thank you for diminishing the burden on my mom’s shoulders who is a single parent.

Rhodes University. Nobantu Radebe

As a part of my extramural activities I have joined a soup kitchen called Masincedane, of which I will be part of its committee next year. The soup kitchen has filled my Saturday afternoons with the kids’ workshops, an initiative that seeks to engage with the children from Xolani location in Grahamstown by teaching them new games, crafts, the English language and also feeding them. Through my involvement with Masincedane I have been exposed to the raw gap between the rich and the poor and this exposure has made the bursary from Link SA even more valuable. The bursary has given me a chance to further my education and get a step closer towards breaking the cycle of poverty. It is because I have tertiary education that my qualifications will not serve only as a means to economically support myself and my family but also encourage those that come after me to pursue their dreams and further themselves. I come from a family where the importance of education is never understated, however only a handful of the members of my family have had a tertiary education. I am fortunate to be amongst the few. The bursary has greatly relieved the pressures of financial burden on my aunt who is taking care of both me and her 17 year old son single-handedly. If it had not been for this bursary, I would have looked into obtaining a student loan.

Rhodes University. Liziwe Ntshweza

Although this year has been one that I have enjoyed immensely, there are a number of difficulties that I came across. Coming from a single-parent home where my mother is also unemployed, the prime problem was dealing with financial pressures to sustain the life of a student. Initially it was difficult for me to deal with the issue of feeling pressure from peers whose parents can offer them more than what my mother could in terms of money but it soon became a non-issue as I grew more into my own skin. Another issue I was confronted with was trying to deal with living with people who do not come from the same background as I do. The difficulty in that was finding common ground and a mutual respect for each others’ space but that was something that was dealt with effectively by showing others the same respect I hoped that they would show me, and by communicating well. All the struggles I have gone through this year have led me to one major life lesson - I have to work hard at being the best person that I can be, in spite of what other people may say or do, I have to be true to myself. I have also learnt that maintaining a strong vision for one’s life is the best way to ensure that they can achieve their goals and not get side tracked.

Rhodes University. Lesego Libisi

I also took part in a protest organized by the University to raise awareness about the abuse of women in and around the University; it was called the Silent Protest and I took part in it because I am a woman and it is unfair that we as women are not safe even in this country. Our house took up a project for community engagement in which we adopted a pre-school in the township and raised funds to help fix the school up. It has been a great year for our house in terms of community engagement and we are in the final stages of fixing up the school building.

Receiving this bursary has meant a lot not only to me, but to my mother as well. The gratitude that we feel knows no bounds and the appreciation that fills our hearts is immeasurable. We were very worried about what would happen if I could not receive a bursary and when I received this one, it was a blessing to us. I am very grateful to you for the opportunity. If I had not been able to attend university, I would have looked for a job, which would have been hard to find considering that my highest qualification is grade twelve and no work experience. I would not be as hopeful and positive about life and the future as I am right now. My mother and I express our gratitude all the time and thank God for you every day. I am very grateful to you for this opportunity. Had it not been for you, I do not know where I would be or what I would be doing.

Rhodes University. Andrew Chutri

With the use of the Scholarship that you have given me, I was able to complete my first year of University. I am immensely grateful to you for providing me with the funding. Should it not have been for the finances your Trust has supported me with, I would not have been able to fulfil the goal of succeeding at improving my capabilities to achieve my goal of becoming a successful Chartered Accountant in years to come.

Your kindness and generosity will always be remembered by me, as I seek to one day help individuals who themselves are suffering to obtain funding for their studies, just as the way you have helped me.

Rhodes University. Nomthandazo Mndaweni

When I first read the e-mail telling me that I had received a scholarship from LINK-SA, I honestly thought that someone had sent me the e-mail by mistake. When they told me that it was no mistake, I was ecstatic. I felt extremely blessed and fortunate and I still do. This scholarship means a lot to me since it has eliminated the financial stress for the first time in my life, thereby allowing me the chance to focus fully on my studies this year. If I hadn’t received this scholarship I would probably be on financial aid and I would owe NSFAS a substantial sum of money

B Com Student – Rhodes University. Palesa Mcimbi

I am fully aware of the fact that were it not for the charity of others I would not be writing this report about my university experiences, because I would not be here. It is because of this reason that I decided to sign up as a student volunteer and I started helping out at a local pre-school with over fifty children and just two teachers inclusive of the principal. Through this programme I have seen the potential that a single human being has to make an impact of someone’s life even if only for an hour or so a week. I am proud to be part of an institution that shares the same values as me with regards to this matter.

I thank everyone who contributed towards this gift because being at university is not only about obtaining a degree but it is also about opening one’s eyes to see what the world has to offer and what one can do for the world.

BComm (Accounting) – Rhodes University. Ritah Mafokwane

My ultimate dream is to become a successful well-rounded individual who has a balanced life. To become a professional and one of the highly-sought after black female chartered accountants in South Africa. To own an organisation in arts and design whereby I will help establish and nurture young and fresh talent. My long-term goal is to finish my degree in the allotted time and follow the Chartered Accountancy route which takes about seven years. I plan to work only for a few years to gain the necessary experience to enable me to start my own business. Since I love drawing and designing, I am thinking of opening a business in the art industry – in that way I will be utilizing both my love for designing and entrepreneurship.

I am the proud member of the African Women in Chartered Accountancy student charter and the fitness club. In terms of leadership roles I am the class representative for commercial law 1.

MB.ChB – Stellenbosch University. Sanmarie Malan

When my parents dropped me off at Tygerberg campus for our first year camp, I didn’t know anyone else. I can’t recall ever being as scared and doubtful as that day. The first semester went by quickly. Every day after class I drove through to Stellenbosch for athletics training. I was selected for Maties athletics team and also participated on a Provincial level in Germiston at the SA Championships. I was involved in various activities of my hostel. I went to ARWYP Hospital where I witnessed different types of operations. The doctors and personnel went out of their way to accommodate me and to teach me what they have learnt through many years of study and practical experience. During the December holidays, I will be involved at Siphumelele orphanage for street children and Bermuda orphanage in Kempton Park to build relationships and help these orphans in any way possible.

MB.ChB II – Stellenbosch University. Astrid Magerman

During this year I have volunteered at my local community day hospital, where I offered assistance for Diabetes Day. The day hospital hosts a Diabetes Day about 2-3 times a year to inform the community about the serious disease of Diabetes Mellitus. This disease is slowly on the increase amongst our people and could be fatal if left untreated. I helped the clinic staff weigh, measure height and calculate the BMI’s (Body Mass Index) of patients, as well as assisting in doing blood pressure check-ups and testing blood sugar levels. In addition, we hosted a “mini-spa” for the elderly where we cared for these patients’ feet. Volunteering for Diabetes Day has made such a meaningful contribution in my life because it has shown how much of a difference I can make in another person’s life just by giving a smile and some friendly assistance.

I am glad to have this opportunity to thank you for your generosity. Without donors like you, many students would be unable to pursue the career of their dreams. Therefore, thanks to you, I am one step closer in achieving my dream of becoming a medical doctor. Your generosity has made a profound impact on my life and I am truly very grateful to you. It has boosted my motivation to continue my hard work and eventually give something back to others, both one day as a doctor and possibly a bursary to future students like myself.

2nd year Medical School, Stellenbosch. Ateeqah Ismail

At the beginning of this year I signed up for two charitable societies, one called J6 – it’s all about the kids and the other Maties Gemeenskap Diens (MGD). In J6 we visited the children’s ward in Tygerberg Hospital on Wednesdays; we dressed up in clown suits and made the children happy by laughing and playing with them. MGD on the other hand was completely professional. It is a clinic organized by students of all years working together to help people in poor communities. Every second weekend we visited a new place where we used the medical knowledge we have gained to relieve discomfort experienced by the people. Some places included Kalkfontein, Villiersdorp and Franshoek. These clinics really gave me the practical experience and exposure I needed to motivate more studying.

Stellenbosch University Pia Lourens

I was born and raised in Paarl, which is not very far from Stellenbosch. I have always had a passion for numbers, and because of that, studying accounting was the natural route for me to follow. I enjoy it tremendously and I know that this is what I should be doing. When I started my first year at Stellenbosch this year, I was scared, as campus was big and moving to a residence on campus was frightening. I am also the first person in my family to attend University, which also made me nervous. I am overjoyed to say that I have made amazing new friends and I love Stellenbosch University. I also joined a small group who helped me grow throughout the year and supported me in adapting to University.

At first it was really hard to cope with the tremendous increase in the work load from school and I struggled. The key for me, however, was to keep working hard and set myself goals which I aim to meet. At the end of this year I received distinctions in all 10 of my BAccounting subjects.

Stellenbosch University. K Hudson

This was a year of many challenges personally. These challenges included family life, spiritual life and friendships. Regarding family, my late grandmother passed away and this affected my mother in a very severe manner as she was very close to her. I wanted to support her as best I could, but sometimes the situation felt out of my grasp and I felt the pressure. Secondly my brothers are growing up and they are at the teenage phase of their life where they are very rebellious and the hormones start to kick in. Having them growing up without a father is difficult, and as an older brother I try my best to fulfill that role of someone for them to look up to and show them that God has a great plan for their future. I love them to bits and only wish the best for them. My one brother’s name is Kyle, he is 13 years old and in high school. My other brother’s name is Lazio, he is 12 and going to high school next year.

Faculty of Science – Stellenbosch University. Zanay du Plessis

If there’s one thing this year has taught me it would be the following: A dream symbolizes the seeds we carry in our hearts from birth and they stay with us until we become adults. No matter how rich or poor we are, we all have childhood dreams. If you are not faithful to your dreams, then you are not worth those dreams. One of the most profound life lessons is that we need to be faithful to our vision and purpose in life. Martin Luther King said it well: “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.” To this day I still have a dream. I end off with the words of American psychologist, Ogmandino, who said, “I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand!”

Medical – Stellenbosh University. D Barendse

I maintained my participation in extra-mural activities, ranging from religious committees to Maties rugby and various Residence Committees. I have partaken in mission trips to less privileged areas of our immediate community. I am also fortunate enough to have undertaken a general counselling course through my school; this allowed me to assist the Bishop Lavis Community Health Centre with its outreach and development programs aimed at troubled youths. I always found the time to assist in Church related Christian-based mission trips. Recently I have acquired a permanent seat on the Tygerberg Leadership Development and Student Dialogue committee where I head the sub-committee Leadership Development in the Community. This involves building a long-standing relationship with schools identified by the local Department of Education as high risk schools – low academic pass rate and drop-out rate. Also, I have been selected to head up various projects on the Community Interaction Committee of which I am a member.

2nd Year MBChB EDP. Canderize Arries

I am a 2 year MBChB EDP student and I have to say I am not lucky, I am blessed! This year was a whole new experience for me, so much different from the previous. So many things happened, some sad and some happy and one thing I have learned from this year is that with a little bit of determination and a lot of faith in God Almighty – you can do it all.

I don’t ever think that it will be clear to you how much of a difference you make in our lives, without you most of us, without you I would not be able to continue studying medicine. Our family is not in the financial position to help us reach our goals but they make up for it by the love and support they shower us with, so thank you for becoming part of my family.

University of Cape Town. Bongile Langa

I grew up in Eastern Cape in a village called Matyeni (meaning rocks) in a town known as Mount Frere. I had dreams like every student, studying to become something, someone big and provide for my family as a way of appreciation for what they have done for me. In high school after several career exhibitions, I realized that things might take an unexpected turn if I did not secure a funding sponsor or loan, as I realized that finance was yet to be my biggest challenge above academic work. My father works in Gauteng mines and my late mother was a home-mom, not working, so I knew that the amount my father earns would not cover my tuition fees. No one has ever been to university in my family so I knew I had to keep myself motivated, dedicated and diligent if I were to secure a place at a tertiary institution, and for financial assistance, as I heard about financial loans for students available there.

My family would like to express their sincere gratitude for the opportunity that you have given their son, “…. To be the first sibling to pursue his studies up to university and beyond”. When I mentioned the tuition fees to them they made it clear that after school I must prepare myself to join my father in the Gauteng mines, which made me to be more dedicated to change this family chain. My father could not stop bragging about his son who was going to be a leader instead of following instructions as he does saying, “I work tirelessly because my own son is going to lead instead of following like his father”. We wish you all the best as you continue to be good Samaritans to the multitudes in need of your redemption. God Bless.

University of Cape Town. Mfundo M Nomnabo

There is so much to share, but words alone are not enough but the least one can do. Thank you very much once again, when one gives you a gift of a life time how can you ever pay that back. I am so grateful for everything you have done for me this year. I met lots of obstacles and made lots of mistakes this year but with that I learnt a lot from them and from my victories. With the presence of your support I managed to achieve many things and many goals I had, and I did many things for much family which believed I could not do. You brought joy and happiness to my heart and my family and I will never forget that. Thank you.

Studying BCom, University of Cape Town. Lynne-Lee Collins

One of the reasons I also wish to live away from home is not because I come from a broken home, but because I come from a broken community. My family is very supportive and loving. The neighbourhood on the other hand is inconsiderate and falling apart. The examples of behaviour are disgusting, to be frank. The people have no respect for one another, their families or neighbours. It is particularly hard to study there. This might seem harsh but it’s the best way I know in order to describe the environment. There is a neighbour who collects dogs and they bark all the time. They even bite sometimes which is one of the reasons I avoid going outside.

It is also the reason I applied to live on campus in a student residence. At first it was stressful as money is the biggest concern and I wasn’t sure whether I would get in or not. Preference gets given to those who come from outside of Cape Town which is understandable but the thing that upset me is what I was told – about “disadvantage based on race”. (I am so-called Coloured.) I was actually offended. When looking back on the political problems our country faced I can say that there is more than one racial group that is labeled as disadvantaged. We also fought for a democracy. Why are we now marginalized? However, I eventually got accepted into a first tier residence.

University of Cape Town. Lee-Anne Moodley

My greatest lesson was gaining experience in the different sectors that occupational therapists can work in. I love it when we get the opportunity to practice our skills. It is always an eye opener and a bonus to be of assistance to individuals that are in need of help. Through our practicals I found that there are two sectors that interest me a great deal. I always had a passion for working with children from a young age, so I would love to go into child development (paediatrics) and also perhaps get into work practice which includes legal practice. However, I like to keep an open mind and open myself up to possibilities and opportunities that present.

This year I was involved with Shawco and Love Your Neighbour, both are university organisations that offer services to individuals who are living in townships and are experiencing difficulties. I was also a ‘buddy’ to first year occupational therapy students offering them advise, answering questions and being supportive emotionally and academically. Next year I will be an orientation leader and will be assisting a group of first years’ in their transition into university. My plan for next year is to strive harder because I know it will be challenging but with preparation and diligence I am positive I can achieve my goals.

University of Cape Town. Wanita Ramsubak

The biggest lesson which I learnt this year was one of complete and utter independence. This was the first time ever that I had to live alone and the experience was quite something. Living alone not only taught me to fend for myself but also shaped me as an individual, showering me with responsibilities I didn’t know existed. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, loneliness, boredom, tranquillity … and the list goes on!

With regard to aspirations for the future, my motto is that I will conquer obstacles as they come, taking it one day at a time. In the short run my main aim is to complete my degree in the allocated 4 years and not a second over. Second year has solidified my love for statistics and I can totally visualize myself in a controlled analyst position one day soon. Currently I have my sights set on an internship in the financial field. I really wanted to do a part time job last year and plan to realize that goal this vacation!

University of Cape Town. Suvannah Pitamber

I had a rather strange encounter this year, and I would like to share this. There was this student in my accounting class. She came from a very wealthy family, and she wore designer clothing, and basically had every material thing one could ask for. Her personality though lacked kindness, and hospitality. She felt that because she was rich, she could behave in any manner that she liked. She even had a chauffer to drive her to university and back. She was very rude to this chauffer. Her grades were not so pleasing, and her reason for her poor grades was that she was already rich, there was no need for her to study. She later found out that she had cancer and it was in its terminal stages. There was absolutely nothing that could be done. Not even her riches could help.

It was from this encounter that I had promised myself that I will not allow wealth to dictate the type of person I am. I should always remember my roots and remain the humble person that I am. I should be very fortunate for what I have, and make the best of every opportunity that comes my way! But also, I should give back to the community, because the community has given me so much and made me the person that I am today!

Faculty of Law – Stellenbosch University. T Jooste

My goal was to become a balanced student engaging not only on an academic level but also socially, allowing myself to go beyond, directly towards an organisation called Watergarden. They are an afterschool project that goes out to Klapmuts (a low income area near Stellenbosch) to engage with the children of the community with learning activities through play and other means. I have become a proud volunteer because these children, without knowing, have played a pivotal role in how I perceive the world and taught me the lesson of how we so often forget the memories (good or bad) of childhood that actually contributed to the person we all are today. My moments with these children led me to reconsider many things, one of these was the decision to discontinue my LLB-studies and register for a BA Law course at the University of Stellenbosch. Thus I have now decided to complete my BA Law degree and further my studies by doing a post-graduate diploma in teaching.

Medical student, Stellenbosch. Di Gee

I did my first OSCI in Internal Medicine which was nerve-wracking as I had one of the top Professors as my examiner. I got a patient with chronic liver failure. We had to take a history, examine the patient and present the patient to the Professor, after which he could question us on anything related to the case. Afterwards the Professor complemented me on my performance saying, “You are going to make a really good doctor one day”. I received a distinction for my OSCE.

MBChB V – University of Stellenbosch. Leilah Martin

There is no amount of words that I can provide that will adequately express the appreciation I wish to extend to Linked SA Trust for this. I am now even more committed myself ,that once I have obtained my degree and established a practice, that I too wish to set up a similar facility to aid and assist needy students in future as I have seen and experienced the significant benefits first hand.

I wish you and your organisation all the best for the New Year, that it will be a very successful and prosperous year for you so that you may continue to do the good work you are providing for many years and to as many students as possible. I truly was blessed to have been a part of it and sincerely wish that other students in similar circumstances too are afforded this help to complete their studies.

Medical – Stellenbosch University. Michelle Ripenaar

I have really learnt so much this year and I am enjoying the course. It is interesting, challenging and it is allowing me to grow and develop as a person. As I mentioned earlier it is probably the toughest course I have encountered and it really takes dedication, perseverance and strength to pull through. I have doubted myself a few times this year but every time I remind myself just how privileged I am to be studying medicine. With that I mind, and a strong support network at home, I have pushed through all the hardships this year and I am proud to say that I have passed all my subjects.

Stellenbosch University – graduated BSc Mech Eng with distinction. Eben Grobbelaar

I would just like to take this opportunity to formally thank Link-SA, and everyone involved, for their support and for believing in me. Thank you for putting your trust in me and for helping me to complete my studies. Thank you for enabling me to better prepare myself for my future and please know that I will always strive to do my best and use this degree to make a valuable contribution towards society. Although I will never be able to thank you enough please know that I will never forget what you have done for me.

BCom (Economics & Finance), 3rd year, UWC. Bongani Mahlangu

As a future graduate, I have realised that without financial aid, there might be challenges in one’s pursuit of academic excellence. Challenges encountered range from book allowances, living allowances, residential and catering costs, which were overcome through the assistance of Link-SA Trust. I would like to urge Link-SA to keep up the good work, extending it to other students who are in financial need, because such initiatives really motivate students to work hard and excel academically.

I must report that I am now a Gold Key Member, which is an honour given to those who achieve a high academic standard.

Oh! For a thousand tongues to say THANK YOU! I hope that this is a success story that will serve as motivation for other aspiring under-graduates, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds like me.

Graduate, LLB, Stellenbosch University. Marieke de Klerk

This year was indeed very academic, and was there little time for anything else. However, during the June/July holidays I did get involved, and joined my church in an academic outreach at Jamestown, just outside Stellenbosch. This entailed that we spent two weeks at the local High School, and taught the matric learners various subjects. We literally stayed in the school, and slept in the classrooms, where we prepared for the next days classes. I taught Life Orientation as well as Afrikaans. It was great to spend time with these learners and just hear their stories. Most of them come from very hectic circumstances, and struggle with the pressure and worries of everyday life. Gangs and drugs are also very prevalent in their lives. Thus, apart from just academic teaching, we also spent time with these children, informing them about the possibilities they have after school, and teaching them how to dream again. We also took all the girls, and ‘pampered’ them the last day by giving them a manicure and hand massage. We also arranged for an inspirational speaker who came to motivate them.

It was a great two weeks, and I learnt so much! These pupils creep into your heart, and you realize how privileged you are.

BSc Physiotherapy, 2, UWC. Ms Babalwa Nongqotho

One of the highlights, amongst others that I have had in this course this year, I was allocated an assignment whereby I had to find a disabled person in my community. The mission was to interview the person and get to know them, their disability and how they are coping with it and to also plan an exercise programme for them. I was touched by the whole experience. The ‘patient’ shared with me his story of how he became disabled, difficulties he faced and just how his life change from the day he was told that he could never walk again and that he was going to be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. This experience taught me on a personal basis how to appreciate life and make the best out of it while we can. It also made me humble and to value the opportunity I had when meeting this patient.

LLB 2. Stellenbosch. (Passed with 8 distinctions, one for each subject written.) Hugo Murray

During the second year of my studies events occurred which depleted my financial means and also caused the sequestration of my parents. As a result, my father’s law practice was effectively ruined and my family struggles on a monthly basis to make ends meet. Without the assistance of your organisation it would have been impossible for me to continue my studies and for this I am enormously indebted to you. I therefore perceive my continued studies as an opportunity and a privilege and I hope that my results bear out my resolve. I also understand that the opportunity afforded me necessarily means that someone else cannot be assisted, and I take the responsibility that goes with that knowledge very seriously. I assure you that when the time comes I will do the same for another student in my position.

BSc Computer Science, 3, UWC. Ms Paulina Skhosana

I want to thank Link-SA Trust for all the support that they have given me throughout the past two years. I am grateful to be part of the students that were chosen to be sponsored. I must say that you support me in another way too: emotionally. Having to write you this report is an emotional experience for me as it gives me time to reflect on what I did through the year, and to think about what I can do differently next year in order to become a better person.

Thank you very much to all the sponsors. May you continue to do this wonderful work for future students. You are changing our lives for good!

BSc Computer Science, 3, UWC. Mlandeli Zosiwe

Coming from a single parent household is no child’s play, especially when that parent is unemployed. But knowing that your fees for the year are well taken care of can really put your mind at rest and help you focus on your studies. That is what your support did for me. My appreciation to Link-SA is beyond words!

BSc Physiotherapy, 3, UCT Ms Simone Bell

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude at the opportunity being made available to me. Two years, ago, before I began my physiotherapy undergraduate degree at UCT my family had no funds available for tertiary purposes. Now I am studying at one of the leading universities, in a course I thoroughly enjoy. Along with that, the financial burden of my study loan has been greatly reduced by the trust.

I feel extremely privileged and honoured for all of this, and I have the trust as a source to thank for that. Expressing exactly how much all of this means to me is impossible. I hope that link SA fund bursaries will continue to grow so that many other students can be helped just as I have been. It really is a dream come true.

B Economics, 3, Rhodes Ms Mulalo Madula

My name is Mulalo Madula; I am currently in third year in bachelor of economics degree at Rhodes University. When LINK-SA FUND awarded me with a scholarship for the year, I was filled with excitement. First of all I would like to express my sincere thanks to LINK-SA for the generosity in providing this award. It is an honour to be recognised for my hard work, and receiving this scholarship motivates me to continue to strive towards excellence. Your generosity has made a profound impact on my life and I am truly very grateful. Since second year LINK-SA FUND has assisted me and it gives me a strong point to tell other people that finances cannot stop us from succeeding in life.

When it comes to extra-mural activities, I did not do much this year owing to pressure of work. The only thing I did is mentoring other students at my residence. I helped them with all courses I did in my first year and second year of study; most specifically accounting. I am passionate about helping other people and trying to make a difference.

Thank you!

BSc Occupational Therapy, 3, UCT. Ms Marli Koen

I wish that I had more time in order to give back to the community, but due to my course being as strenuous and time-consuming as it is, this becomes exceedingly difficult. However, as part of my training, I have worked at hospitals such as Somerset Hospital, Conradie Care, Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre, Valkenberg Hospital, as well as at a number of schools, such as Bel Porto, Chrystal House, Woodside, etc., and this has given me opportunities to enable my clients to improve on their health and quality of life.

I have also worked at weekend-clinics that SHAWCO from the University of Cape Town organizes, which aims to provide healthcare to those in impoverished communities.

I cannot describe how thankful I am to have received the opportunity to be able to study and make a difference in other people’s lives. It completely changed the way that I perceive the world and it has helped me in ways that I cannot even fully comprehend – it has shaped me into the adult that I have become.

Although it is true no one should have to experience some of the hardships that I have endured, I am grateful that it did happen. I am a stronger person for it. I have learned the value of an education, the value of money and the value of family. Through these hardships I have learned to truly appreciate the blessings that are bestowed upon me.

Please accept this letter of gratitude, as I truly appreciate the opportunities that your contribution has made, not only to me, but also to those that can one day receive my help due to the training and education that I have received.

BSc 2, Rhodes University. Mr Kwanele Mgolozeli

As a university student, I learnt to unleash and in the process also grow my potential. What an opportunity it has been to learn not only academics but also life! As a person who comes from a small place of poor people where there is only despair, opportunities like these allow one to shine, in the process liberating potential, so when an organisation like Link-SA give an individual support they give hope to the whole community.

LLB 4, University of the Western Cape. Ms Anastacia Seals

I recently helped out one of the teachers at my primary school. It was then that I realised that dreams do come true as I saw myself in those children's eyes. It reminded me of myself as a 10 - year old, not knowing what the future has in store for me. It is my goal that I shall give more of my time and myself to others in the coming academic year, I just haven't decided how that will take place yet. For now, I will enjoy my summer holidays although some of the time will be spent working as I need to earn a bit of money to help me through the year ahead with personal expenses.

Graduate, LLB, Stellenbosch. Nicole McCauley

In terms of the community, I was afforded the privilege of being a maths tutor to five grade 9‘s and five grade 8’s from Cloetesville High School. This project is inspired by a company called Space Age Technology.

I was able to build relationships with these pupils (especially the grade 9’s as I was involved with them for a longer period of time) as I spent an hour 15 minutes with them twice a week. A total of two and a half hours weekly with the grade 8’s and the same time weekly with the grade 9’s. (five hours a week in total). It was sometimes very difficult and stressful especially when I had lots of varsity work but I don’t regret my decision. These children taught me so much in terms of perseverance, rising above your immediate circumstances to see the bigger picture as well as the importance of an education. Education is often the only key to escaping various circumstances and through my time spent with these pupils, I realised more and more how fortunate I have been to be given a good education.

I loved every lesson I had with these pupils - whether it be doing geometry or eating peanut butter ‘sarmies’ together when we took a break from the maths. I was afforded a glimpse into a lifestyle and way of thinking that I had never and probably would never have experienced had it not been for these pupils. I will miss them bitterly next year and wish them every bit of success – they deserve it.

Graduate, B Bus Sc, University of Cape Town. Ms Visha Govender

I hail from Park Rynie, a small town on the South coast of KwaZuluNatal. My parents divorced when I was only three years old. Growing under these circumstances was trying, both emotionally and financially. I was raised by my mother and my maternal grandparents. My grandfather passed away last year.

Having spent my entire school years in the vicinity of my home town, the thought of studying at a university of my choice, in another province of the country, seemed inconceivable. Yet, it was a dream I pursued, and it is through the kind sponsorship from organisations such as yours, that people in situations like mine are able to gain renewed hope in themselves and in the country. It also makes us more determined to succeed, and to one day contribute to the development of others in similar situations.

Once again, I send a big ‘thank you’ for your contribution towards making my academic career at the University of Cape Town possible.

BSc Physiotherapy 2, Stellenbosch University. Ms Y Konick

I would just like to say thank you so much for the bursary that I have received from Link-SA Trust. I cannot begin to explain the difference it has made in my life, and I am so grateful. The worry of financing your dreams and tertiary education is something many students in South Africa experience, and I feel blessed that I have been given the opportunity to study further.

The Link-SA Trust is doing such good work in our country, and I look forward to getting more involved and one day, when I have my degree, I would like to give back what has been given to me: also assist another young South African follow their dreams.

I cannot express my gratitude enough. Once again, thank you.

B Com, 2nd year – UWC. Shaun Timm

My aspirations for the future would be to live comfortably one day. I do not feel the need to live in excess and owning extravagant material possessions. One day I would like my success to be measured not by how much money I have in the bank, but how much I have done for the masses of people with nothing in our country.

Graduate in Medicine, Wits University. Dr Derrik du Toit

Thus, in my final letter to you, I would like to thank the various important people in my life. Thanks to my Mom for putting up with living with a medical student for the past six years and her endless love, to my Dad for his words of encouragement and support. To my sisters who were always more than willing to listen to my ranting and raving. Last, but not least, Link-SA! Had it not been for your generosity I would probably have been one of many medical students left with who-knows-how-much study debt?! I have said it before, but the work that Link-SA does has set an example to me, one which I will be sure to follow in future. Thank you, Link-SA, for your support and faith in not only me, but the future of this beautiful country of ours.

I will now go “out there” and be the very best doctor I can be!

BSc Mechanical Engineering, 3, Stellenbosch University. Daniel Malan

There are some places that just take your breath away, still others which fill you with a deep feeling of awe. One of these places is Siphumelele, or “new beginnings”. Here, a lady gives a home to street children. I love going there and being part of loving the little ones, helping the lady with some chores, playing with the children and fixing some of their toys. It is a place of grace.

The Mechanical engineering department incorporated our class into a tutoring scheme during the first semester. I taught mathematics to grade 11 pupils, and I thoroughly enjoyed ploughing back some of my basic algebra and trigonometry skills and sharing things that I use in applied mathematics. I also experienced first hand the challenges faced in the implementation of new programmes in the education system, and how easily children fall through the system. I also developed new appreciation for my family’s support of my studies.

BSc Mechatronics Graduate, Stellenbosch University Oelof de Meyer

At the moment I am not sure where my future will take me, but I know that life cannot take away what I have achieved this year. I obtained a degree that guarantees security for my future. The life experience I gained throughout these 5 years of study made me a strong individual that can face any obstacle in life. The most valuable life lesson I am taking away from these 5 years is to take nothing for granted, be grateful for what you have, strive for what you want, work for what you need and have compassion for those that are less fortunate.

That is why I will also start an organization one day to help those that are less fortunate, because I saw and experience the difference someone can make. I would like to thank Link-SA Trust again for giving me more than just financial aid; they gave me a chance to make a difference one day.

Thank you sincerely

Medicine, 4, UCT. Nelson De Abreu

Everything that I have achieved this year could not be possible if it were not for the generosity that Link-SA and their trustees have shown to me time and time again. This year, I never once had to worry about finances and the time and effort that goes with sorting out the finances involved. But most importantly, without that generous support, year after year, I would not have had the opportunity to study at one of the finest institutions in South Africa and would not be able to fulfil a dream that my parents and I have for myself. I just really hope that I have made you all proud of me and that you all feel that it is, and remains, worth it in supporting me and my career.

Medicine, 4, UCT Jonathan Macauley

The second semester was difficult as my health was not perfect. I was in and out of hospital twice and I missed some ground at university, but as soon as I recovered I made up for it. The year taught me a lot of things. The biggest thing was that hard work will not kill you, but it will surely get you to where you need to be!

3rd year Medical Bioscience, University of the Western Cape. T K Prinsloo

There were days when I felt like giving up and just sleeping, but knowing that I came this far and knowing that I could not let my family, friends, and Link-SA down was more than enough motivation for me to realise that I cannot simply give up so easily.

I do intend to study further, but I would like to work after my Honours and then do medicine or continue with Masters and ultimately PhD. The reason for working first is because I want to gain experience in my field and I want to learn more from others by being exposed to different ways of doing and handling science related activities and the different personalities out there in the science field.

Once more: THANK YOU Link-SA for making my future career possible.

BSc Bio-Technology, 3rd year, University of the Western Cape. Ms Andronica Ramaila

This year was also a good year for me academically as well, since I received the Golden Key award for high achievement. The news kept me motivated during my dark times, so that I could be able to keep my eyes on the prize, i.e. a prosperous future filled with many opportunities for young people like me.

For next year, I have applied for an Honours degree and I hope that everything works out as planned. From the bottom of my heart, I would just like to say thank you to Link-SA for the financial back-up because it does make a difference in the lives of those that require assistance like me. I am very honoured to have been one of the students to receive this scholarship; it shows that I have accomplished something recognizable and special. Thank you!

Applied Geology, 4th year, University of the Western Cape. Ms Mahlatsi F Maluleka

Thank you very much for the financial assistance you gave me. I cannot imagine we would have been able to find all my fees if we had to pay the full amount after the death of my father. I am looking forward to next year, and setting higher goals for myself. I want to become an achiever!

B Sc 3, Rhodes. Mr Akhona Mdaka

This year, I was a mentor for three first year students. Mentoring taught me to be responsible, in a way that now I know that not every thing is about me. The way that I interact with my mentees had to be of the best. They really looked up to me and they told me that I’ve made a difference in their student life. I was also a computer trainer/tutor at Raglan Road Multi-Purpose Centre, one of the community centres in Grahamstown, teaching adults and some from my age group. At the beginning it was not easy to convince old people or make them understand. I had to learn to be patient with these people.

I also appreciate and feel very happy that I was chosen to be assisted by Link-SA. I will do my best not to let you down so that you can find inspiration to assist others as well.

Thank you very much for your support.

B Com, 2, Rhodes. Ms K S Mphelo

One of the important lessons I have learnt this year is that if I put in the required hard work coupled with dedication and self-confidence I can achieve anything. I also learnt that if I manage my time wisely university will not be too overwhelming and I will be able to balance my studies and personal life.

My biggest personal achievement this year was being able to make a good presentation in front of a large crowd. I am also proud of the fact that I managed to get through the year and I look forward to next year.

B Com 2, Rhodes. Ms Philasande Ntshiba

I also went to an old age home and an orphanage called “Home of Joy” with a group called Revolutionary Heartbeat in my church where we did soup kitchens for the community on Sundays and were sponsored food by ShopRite and Fruit & Veg City stores. I also went to a shelter called Eluxolweni where the children were helped with their homework and we would have dessert with them at times, teaching them the Bible as well. As for mentoring, I am currently a tutor for statistics for first year students at Rhodes. I have also tutored Theory of Finance in first semester.

Graduate, LLB, Stellenbosch. Allison M. Anthony

I come from a disadvantaged background; money was hard to come by, and few people from my community got the opportunity that I received. I am really pleased with the progress I made in my Bachelors, and hope that you are also proud of my achievement in gaining my degree. My mother and stepfather were ecstatic!

Once again, a big thank you to my donors for the funding to complete the course and for giving me an opportunity few young South Africans have.

LLB3, Stellenbosch. Ms Leandi Esterhuizen

My parents have really shown me what hard work and dedication is all about, this year. Even with the hardships at their respective schools, they have not neglected my brother and me. I am eternally grateful to them. It should also be said that they are as grateful as I am, if not more, for the financial assistance awarded to me. It has certainly made day to day living a great deal easier, especially with brother on the brink of finishing high school with university as a prospect. He has also proved to himself that when ones works hard, rewards will follow in multitude. He as achieved great success academically.

On behalf of my entire family I would like thank you for your continued support and for believing in me, by supporting our family financially. It does not go unnoticed and unappreciated. We are all extremely grateful. Seasons greetings and I hope you have a well rested beak.

Thank you.

LLB 3, Stellenbosch. Charné Pieterse

Due to my background and humble upbringing I have a strong sense of social responsibility; hence I was incredibly excited to be one of the co-ordinators of the student volunteering programme for The Pebbles Project. At Pebbles I tutored two primary school students in various subjects and it was this experience that made this year especially memorable.

I also participated in the campus Green initiatives and was head mentor to the first year students. My activities have equipped me with invaluable skills which will serve me well in my career as well as my life.

I trust that you will continue to support students such as myself and hope that they are as affected by your generosity as I have been.

B Sc, Occupational Therapy 3, UCT. Ms Stacey Louisa Turner

I would like to begin this letter with a simple, “Thank you.” Words struggle to form in my mouth as I cannot match words to the deep emotions of gratitude that I feel inside. In sponsoring someone there has to be that trust in the person that the money you give will not go to waste, that the person will attempt to do their utmost in all aspects of the studying, and love the course that they have chosen and build their life around. In the letter that follows, I hope to enlighten you on my past year of study, and how indeed I have fallen even more in love with the course that I believe in the beginning was a random chance selection. Now with wisdom and reflection I understand there was something more, Someone else in control.

For the future I trust it to the hands of God. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11. My aspirations for the future lie in the belief that what lies ahead is unimaginable, and that in having faith in God, but even more so, learning that He has faith in me that anything is undeniably possible. My work will be my passion, and also, I would love to get married one day and live on a farm surrounded by trees, and the wide open sky. Life is beautiful!

In conclusion, I cannot believe that the year came and went so fast. This year has been amazing. I cannot stop raving about all the challenges I have been faced with, all the circumstances in which I have just grown, and in each block pondering over every one of my “ups” and “downs”. I thank you for sponsoring me. I thank you from every part deep inside of me.

To my sponsor: May the life you live be a great one; may it be blessed and full of hope and love.

B Sc, Bioscience graduate, UCT. Steward Cardis

I have been accepted into the BSc (med) honours course in Nutrition, at the end of which I will have a career as a dietician. My sincerest thanks go to you for your invaluable help in achieving this over my three years at UCT. As you know from my previous letters, my twin sister and I lost our parents two years ago, and without your help, we would not have been able to pursue university studies. I have had many life changing experiences in these three short years, not the least of which is making many friends from different cultures – people I had not met while at school. These friends will be there for life!

Thank you.

BSc Physiotherapy, 3, UCT. Mogamad Waafiq Dawood

One situation that really stands out for me this year was when I wrote up a patient report, saying that he had responded very well to the treatment, I then put it in his folder along with all his other doctors’ reports. The next day, I came to check on the same patient, I found him dressed. He said he had been discharged. I then checked the folder and on my patient report was a doctor’s comment: “Well done! Your patient can be discharged.” This really was confirmation for me that I was pursuing the correct profession for me, personally!

Geology grad., Wits University (graduated cum laude). Michael Kirchner

During my second and third years, I finished top of my class in geology and I think the support I received from Link-SA was crucial to helping me because it encouraged me, gave me confidence and prevented me being distracted by financial worries.

I got the amazing opportunity to go to India as part of my Honours project.

The project involved collecting rocks from an intrusion in India which occurs in a deeply eroded mountain belt. The aim of the project was to date the intrusion to get an age for rifting (when the intrusion was emplaced) and the age of deformation (when the mountain belt formed). This project was successful as we were able to make interesting correlations using geochemistry and I got 75% for my final thesis. The project and challenging course work this year have stimulated my interest in research and built on my report writing skills.

I look forward to a day when I am able to contribute to Link-SA and continue helping students to succeed at university. Thank you kindly.

BSc Engineering Graduate, Stellenbosch University. Pieter Conradie

Although I had to work hard academically, I still had time to help in the community. In Eendrag Mens’ Residence where I lived, I made many friends and served on a large number of committees. Many of these included interaction with the community such as helping to build a library for the less fortunate. We played with orphans who came from disadvantaged backgrounds. We painted classrooms of schools in the community who did not have the money to do it for themselves. Also, as part of one of my subjects “Society in Perspective” I helped to give extra maths and science classes to grade 11 and 12 pupils who could not afford extra classes.

Medicine, 5th year, Stellenbosch University. Ms Kashiefa Japtha

During my December vacation, I spent my time engaging with different people on a medical and social basis. I spent the first half of my holiday volunteering as a "Wellness Consultant" for various Medical Aids. This adventure brought new meaning to the phrase "you are what you eat". It was an amazing experience as I got to speak to and advise people from all walks of life ... from the CEO of a major corporation to the domestic worker who never finished school. You'd be amazed at how little or how much knowledge our population has about their lifestyle and dietary choices.

I spent the second half of the vacation assisting my grandfather, who is a religious figure in the Muslim community, with HIV-AIDS presentations at Muslim schools and mosques. I found the lack of knowledge within the community, especially among the elderly members, quite shocking. Some people were under the impression that HIV could be transmitted by using the same towel!

I found both experiences to be equally rewarding and a dual learning opportunity for myself and others.

BSc 3, Rhodes. Ryan Daniels

I really appreciate the funding I have received from Link-SA. It has made a major difference to not only my studies, but also that of my sister (currently completing her third year as well) and my little brother (at high school), and my mother, who is our sole provider. Although this year has been much less of a financial challenge than my first two years, it is only due to contributions my sister and I have received from sponsors that we can get by. In my case, I must send a big thank you to everyone at Link-SA, as sincerely as I can state it in a letter, for the assistance.

BPHA, final year, Rhodes University Ms Nombulelo Patricia Meso

I cannot express my gratitude enough over what the Link-SA Trust has done for me. I might not have been able to finish my degree, had it not been for the bursary that I received. I hope that – some day – I can give back to other people who have a dream of pursuing a career but lack of financial means to do so. Education is the core of a successful country and now that I will be graduating and entering the working world, I would like to be of significance in this great country of ours which is full of potential and opportunities.

Link-SA Trust is making a big difference by educating as many people as they can because it really makes a difference to someone who would like to be educating and make a good living, like me. It is important for me to one day help others just as this Trust has helped me, because that is the only way to live in a prosperous country. Education is the key. Once again, thank you for helping me realise my dream of being an educated South African.

LLB Graduate, Stellenbosch. Kudakwashe Boyd

My name is Kudakwashe Boyd. I concluded my LLB degree at the end of last year at the University of Stellenbosch. I am a beneficiary of your Trust. I am currently doing my LLM in Property law (Mineral rights).

Firstly I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for all the support you have given me. I will be forever indebted to you. I am looking forward to showing my appreciation by becoming a Link SA benefactor some time in the future and will keep in close contact with the Trust in the years to come.

BSc 3rd year, Rhodes University. Mr Mandisi Sithole

Besides my academics, I was also involved in community work such as the Rotaract Community Service Society and the Khanya Maths and Science Club. With Rotaract Society, I was participating in voluntary work such as visiting the hospitals, old-age homes and children’s shelters on selected weekends on a monthly basis. The Khanya Maths and Science Club is a programme where we help learners from the township with maths and science by giving them lessons on Saturday mornings.

After I complete my BSc degree at Rhodes, I am planning to do medicine at Wits University which offers a four year programme for graduates. I have decided to do this because I have always dreamed of becoming a medical doctor one day, so this is an opportunity for me to achieve my dream.

Graduated with A Average, Medicine, Wits. Dr Deepna Lakhoo

This has been one of the most difficult years of my life. Being in final year is very stressful. The pressure on you to do well and pass the year can be tremendous. However the academic side of things went pretty well during the year. Then, in Oct, tragedy struck my family when my brother passed away. He was only 27 years old. Ever since this, life has been extremely hard to deal with.

However, despite these struggles, I managed to pass my final year with an “A” average and proudly graduated in December. I am also pleased to mention that I am the recipient of the Jack Distiller award for the best student in community medicine. I hold my head up high knowing that even through such trying circumstances, I have managed to succeed.

Currently, I am working as an intern at the Helen Joseph/Coronation Hospital. Life as an intern is nothing short of challenging. We work extremely long hours and our patient load is extremely high. From being a student to being a qualified doctor is a big jump, as we take responsibility for people’s lives. With HIV being as high as it is in SA, there is extra stress on us. When tired, the chance of us getting a needle stick injury is high. We face these challenges on a daily basis.

My mother is suffering extreme depression owing to my brother’s illness and death. My only prayer is that things will improve in the months to come. I once again would like to thank Link-SA for the bursary afforded to me during the last six years. A huge financial burden has been lifted and thus I can concentrate on other things in my life.

BAcc, 3rd year, Rhodes University. Ms Khumalo

I am Mompunmelelo Mercy Khumalo, and I am currently doing my third year Bachelor of Accounting degree at Rhodes University. I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Link-SA for the contribution towards my education. Words cannot truly express my gratitude. Your support by means of a R10 000 scholarship has had an impact in sculpting my vision into reality.

I am studying with the hopes of becoming a South African Chartered Accountant. I believe I am destined for great things – one of which is to work for the South African parliament as Minister of Finance. Knowing that, with education, I can achieve my dreams, this has given me the necessary drive to persist and overcome any obstacles which might hinder my education.

If I could get a Link-SA scholarship for one more year towards my university fees, it would guarantee that I study further and thus live my dream. Knowing that my education is paid for will give me peace of mind to concentrate on important issues like achieving my C.A. qualification.

BCom (Accounts), Rhodes University. Ms Bancamile Hlobisile Lunga

The pressures that I have faced to date are those of lack of finance, and how each year is a struggle. I was brought up by a single parent, but regardless of the circumstances, I do not feel “disadvantaged”. The many sacrifices that have been made to get me here is what gives me hope that when I give my best, success is only a degree away. My dedication to overcome the challenges that I experienced in my first year was rewarded as I made it on to The Dean’s Merit List. This achievement has motivated me to believe that, with dedication, I can reap success.

I volunteered at Dundee Provincial Hospital in different departments from the children’s wards to the revenue office. This taught me that it is not always about the money you are paid, but that the experience you gain is priceless.

As a young and energetic black female with a lot of objectives that I have to accomplish, I believe that my hunger for success is there. My mentor is my mother because she has shown me that, despite the challenges that I have faced, she has given me the same opportunities that wealthier children have. She has beaten the odds and has sacrificed a lot to get me this far, and I owe it - not only to myself - but to her that I make my objective a reality. With her as my pillar of strength, the sky is the limit!

BSc Computer Science, 2nd year, Rhodes University. Mr Mamkeli Jim

I want to thank you for the support that you have given me financially because all I had was potential, but no funds to implement this! I really thank Link-SA and hope that next year – seeing my progress – you will be able to assist me with funding again.

(This student was made a lifetime member of the Golden Key Scholastic Honour Society, and was included on The Dean’s Merit List.)

3rd year, LLB, UWC. S F Nonjiwe

This year I was involved in a mentoring project called Brawam-Siswam, a project based on the Western Cape Provincial Govt Strategy of promoting social cohesion to ensure sustainable growth and development. The project involved High School learners from Grade 9 bringing hope and resilience to the learners and to visualise themselves in the same position as future students in higher education. The project mutually benefited me and the mentees it brought growth and development pertaining to life skills and also for the mentees to identify their future goals. In the project, I was able to test my oral expression, leadership skills and ability to take and handle uncalculated risks.


B Psych 2nd year, UWC Ms J Qangaqa

I always had a dream of living on campus, but during my first year, I did not get a room and had to make use of the train daily. However, I told myself that this year, I was going to make sure that I get a room in the residence. This was not an easy task as I was constantly told that there were no rooms left. I did not give up, and after two weeks of standing in long queues and begging for a room, I finally got one! Then I was faced with another challenge; this time I had to get used to living without my family. At first I was a bit lonely, but I soon got used to the place, and I knew at the end of the day that it was for my own convenience.

Academically, the year was quite challenging. Having to hand in assignments on time and studying for tests was taking up a lot of my energy, but then again, that is the main reason why I am here. There was a time when I had two assignments due and two tests to write in the same week. At first I thought it would be impossible, but then I realised that it just needed hard work.

Civil Engineering, 3, Wits. Lenge Mulongo

From this year – which ends on a good note – I learnt, rather I confirmed my knowledge that success comes from hard work and perseverance. I had to work hard and I did! I have thus acquired very valuable knowledge that makes me feel each day closer to the realisation of my many dreams in life.

I am aware of the fact that there still is a long way to go in my academic journey; yet I am already going ahead and am fully confident, thanks to your support, that I will graduate in time and pleasingly.

BSc, Physiotherapy, 2nd year, UWC. Ms F Solomon

Respiratory and Orthopaedics was more difficult that I thought! I felt scared and less confident because most of the patients I worked with were either HIV Positive or TB infected, which made me very afraid. I did not want to contract these diseases, so I took the necessary precautions. I saw that one of my patients felt uncomfortable and did not want to cooperate when I wore my gloves and mask, so I spoke to him and through that conversation, I realised that you should not treat people differently, just because they have a disease. You should rather give them the support they need instead of treating them as outsiders. I am not saying that we, as health professionals, should not take precautions. I am just saying that we should not spread discomfort amongst those patients by taking too many precautions!

Graduated Occupational Therapy, Wits. Ms Minέ Norval

Our rural block up in Limpopo Province was great fun, challenging, rewarding and frustrating all in one! We were based at Elim Hospital, which is situated 45 mins from the town of Louis Trichardt. We focussed predominantly on performing home visits to communities who do not have access to any hospital. Visiting many different families in remote villages was definitely a highlight for me, as I felt I had an opportunity to give something back to the community. We learnt how to be patient when working at a rural district hospital, and how to overcome hurdles such as poor equipment delivery, poor service delivery and ineffective management. We also had the opportunity to visit a local sangoma (traditional healer) who was so accurate in her bones reading that I will never under-estimate alternate therapies again!

Thank you, Link-SA – for your continued support over the last three years. Without your support and generosity I would not have been able to complete my degree and I would not have had the wonderful therapeutic, learning and friendship experiences which I had. I am deeply grateful to your organisation that enabled me to fulfil my dream of becoming an Occupational Therapist.

BSc Mining Engineering, 4, Wits. S Pearton

It was with great joy in the middle of the year that I learned I had again received a generous contribution toward my studies from Link-SA. Once again, I feel indebted to those who have been so generous to me and would like to convey my deepest thanks.

During the first half of the year I was fortunate enough to be elected chairman of the tour committee for the Fourth Year Mining Tour. The two week tour, which was attended by approximately 70 people, took place in July we visited several mining operations throughout SA, including world leading mining operations Finch Diamond Mine and Phalaborwa Copper Mine. I feel that the experience and knowledge gained through the organisation and management of the tour will be invaluable as I head into the real world, most importantly – the people skills I attained.

BSc 3rd year, Rhodes University. Mandisi Sithole

Besides my academics, I was also involved in community work such as the Rotaract Community Service Society and the Khanya Maths and Science Club. With Rotaract Society, I was participating in voluntary work such as visiting the hospitals, old-age homes and children’s shelters on selected weekends on a monthly basis. The Khanya Maths and Science Club is a programme where we help learners from the township with maths and science by giving them lessons on Saturday mornings.

After I complete my BSc degree at Rhodes, I am planning to do medicine at Wits University which offers a four year programme for graduates. I have decided to do this because I have always dreamed of becoming a medical doctor one day, so this is an opportunity for me to achieve my dream.

BCom, 3rd year, Rhodes University Lusanda Mnqayi

Your caring commitment has been very critical in my life and for the crisis issue that had confronted me and almost prevented me from reaching my potential. Link-SA has not only been a relief in my time of financial distress but has made me believe that through the hardest times with perseverance, it is possible to make it. For this reason a few days from now I will no longer be a passive but a proactive member of society. Thank you for your continuing support; it is through your positive efforts that people’s lives are transformed for the better. For this, I will forever be mindful of you and pray that God will continue to multiply and prosper you for the tremendous work you are doing.

I truly appreciate your dedication and the valuable role you play in building brighter futures for South Africa’s next generation.

3rd year, LLB, UWC. Ms S F Nonjiwe

I was involved in a mentoring project called Brawam-Siswam, a project based on the Western Cape Provincial Govt Strategy of promoting social cohesion to ensure sustainable growth and development. The project involved High School learners from Grade 9 bringing hope and resilience to the learners and to visualise themselves in the same position as future students in higher education. The project mutually benefitted me and the mentees it brought growth and development pertaining to life skills and also for the mentees to identify their future goals. In the project, I was able to test my oral expression, leadership skills and ability to take and handle uncalculated risks.

5th year, Medicine. UCT (Entering Final year) Marco Cassels

Once again, I am lost for words for the generous gift you have poured into my life this year! You have been a blessing to me and my family these past years.

I learnt the importance of Time Management, as I am deeply involved with studies, church, tutoring, my family and lastly, myself. I did become “burnt out” at the end of the year trying to cope with all I had to do, and all my commitments.

My elective was Paediatrics which I enjoy very much.

To Link-SA, I hope one day I can support the effort you put in, and I would be honoured to give back to other students who are also in circumstances beyond their control. You have truly helped people such as me break free from a mould of “disadvantaged”.

LLB Graduate, Rhodes University Mr David Burmeister

I continued to work for a third semester at the Rhodes University Legal Aid Clinic. So noteworthy was my contribution to the clinic over the past year and a half that I was awarded the coveted Thompson Date Chong award for the most significant contribution by a Rhodes student to the Legal Aid Clinic.

I have also been instrumental in the setting up and running of the Rhodes University Legal Activism Society, which had the goal of teaching uneducated people about the law and informing them of their rights. This society has moved from strength to strength and I am happy to say that I assisted it through its formative stages.

In conclusion, all of the above would not have been possible, were it not for your kind and generous gift. I therefore wish to thank you once again.

(This student was placed on The Dean’s Merit List for academic achievement)

BSc Mining Engineering, 2, Wits. N M Ritshuri

I would like to first thank Link-SA and all its trustees for the opportunity they gave to me to continue my studies with a lesser financial burden. It was a blessing indeed to be funded by you and I hereby take pleasure in sharing my experiences with you.

The year was a revolutionary one for me. A year of internal growth, self-finding and emotional healing. I have managed to pass six of the eight courses I was registered for. This was a downfall to my academic year. I believe there is no downfall too low to get up and try harder. I will be registering for the two half-year courses, together with some third year courses next year.

During the year I have been involved in extra-mural activities that range from prayer cell meetings to serving on the house committee for my Res. I played volleyball for my Res and touch-rugby for the Mining Engineering tam. I also belong to the Wits Students Business Society, Society for Mining Engineering Students, and Khomanani Cultural Society.

BCom 2nd year, Rhodes University. Ms Z Ntshebe

I am from Mdantsane, a township near East London. I am a female student who believes that – through motivation and hard work – everyone can succeed. I am doing a commerce degree, majoring in Accounting with the ambition of becoming a Chartered Accountant in the next three years.

As a student who attended school in a township, coming to Rhodes University has given me lots of experiences. I have learned diversity, and have learned leadership and people skills because I have worked with students on two occasions while at Rhodes. I tutored Theory of Finance and Stats 1D, and Accounting 1G. This taught me that people are not all the same; some think slowly and some are fast thinkers, but I learned patience and a better understanding of people.

During my four years at university, I overcame many difficulties, the most serious of which was my finances. I was brought up by an unemployed single parent. But I survived! I worked very hard and focussed on my studies, and the following year, I was appointed as a tutor which took some of the financial burdens away.

BSc Computer Science, 2nd year, Rhodes University. Mr Mamkeli Jim

I want to thank you for the support that you have given me financially because all I had was potential, but no funds to implement this! I really thank Link-SA and hope that next year – seeing my progress – you will be able to assist me with funding again.

(This student was made a lifetime member of the Golden Key Scholastic Honour Society, and was included on The Dean’s Merit List.)

BSC Mechatronix, 2, Stellenbosch Univ. Passed year end exams with three distinctions. Marco Bothma

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, either way, you are right.” I think these words best express what I have learnt during the past year. I have learnt that the way you perceive your circumstances or the obstacles in your way makes all the difference, and if you think something to be insurmountable, that’s exactly what it is going to become. This new point of view has allowed me to enjoy the privilege of attending university, and to get through all those late night study sessions.

I really feel blessed that I am able to study something that is not just a career, but a passion in my life. That is why I would like to thank everybody at Link-SA, and all the donors. You have taken it upon yourself to help someone whom you have never met, and helped me towards my end goal of becoming an Engineer. You are truly the unsung heroes, working to make this country great.

LLB 2nd year, Stellenbosch. Ms Y de Wit

This year has tested me on almost every level. My parents divorced at the beginning of the year. The divorce settlement placed the responsibility of providing for maintenance of my brother and me solely on my mother. Her salary does not enable her to pay for my education. Therefore, I obtained financial aid for my education from my grandparents and I work three nights a week as a waitress to cover my living expenses. Balancing work, classes, studying and friends has been a challenge. I believe that overcoming any obstacle that I have faced only makes me stronger. Having a hunger to succeed and rise above my circumstances motivates me to work harder to achieve my goals.

I sincerely thank Link-SA for the contribution towards my education.

BPHA , Rhodes University. Ms Thato Ramela

Not only did I focus on the academic side, I involved myself in community work, helping the patients learn more about their medication and their health, and I worked with a group of my classmates visiting the patients at their homes to educate them about illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and epilepsy. In the last two terms, we also attended ward rounds at the local hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the patients. It was an eye-opener for me to know that a lot of them knew they were ill, but did not understand or know what their illnesses were and how the symptoms could be alleviated. Some of the patients did not even know what and why they were taking the medication they were prescribed!

Thank you, Link-SA, for giving me the opportunity to fulfil my ambition of being a pharmacist. I have graduated!

LLB graduate, (UWC) Monde Mfanekiso (Mr)

I must also state that on the 10th October, I went for an interview at the Johannesburg Bar Council for pupilage. And I am glad to announce that as from 15 January, I will be starting as a (pupil) junior counsel at the Bar.

Thank you again for granting me the opportunity to finish my students. It has been my childhood dream to be a legal practitioner, although it took me almost 20 years after matriculation to finally realise this dream. With your help, I am left with only a couple of days to announce a dream come true, and I am very ready to go out and play a meaningful role in the building of the future of our country - a country that is full of people that care, like you, Link-SA Trust!

LLB 2, Wits University. Matome Serumula

I was born and grew up in a remote rural area next to Mokopane. Presently, I am doing second year LLB at Wits. The university is giving me the edge. It was always a dream for me to be in an institution that produced great names like Richard Goldstone, Patrice Motsepe, etc. It is every learner’s wish to find him or herself being in a work-renowned institution like Wits. My hope is in the future, because that is where I am going to spend the rest of my life.

I desire to thank Link-SA for making sure that we can realise our dreams. With many of the town people failing to complete their studies because of scarcity of financial resources, I think Link-SA merit accolades! Your contribution to our studies will never be underestimated. Nelson Mandela once said that a nation should be best judged by the way they treat the most vulnerable in society (the poor, women, children, and the disabled). This is actually what Link-SA is doing by offering bursaries to those who cannot afford to pay for their studies.

BSc 2, Wits. Grant Mashile

Firstly, I would like to commend and congratulate you on your efforts in ploughing back into the country, and thank you tenfold for your generosity and consideration. Your thoughtful gesture has not only given me a much-needed financial impetus, but has also given me new hope and confidence for the future.

The Two years I have been at Wits have certainly made a lasting impression on my life. Academically, I have acquired valuable knowledge through my course. However, the most important lesson in the short time I have been a student is coming to understand myself and discovering my ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. At the end of last year I was faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue studying actuarial science, or to follow my heart and pursue a career in Physics. After some career counselling and careful consideration, I opted to listen to my heart, not knowing where I was going to raise the funds to realise my ambition . I took a leap of faith and, thanks to the kindness of your organisation, I was able to take the first step in becoming a Physicist.

BSc Ind. Eng, 2 - Wits. R A Mandavha

I am more than grateful for the opportunity to be one of the students that are financially supported by you. The belief you have in us, that makes you commit to us as students, is the inspiration I need to go through even the hardest of times. Thank you.

BACC 3, Wits. Ms Maphasha Daphney Kgatla

I was born in Ga-Modjadji in Limpopo Province, and am one of two children in the family. My brother is doing his last year towards an IT diploma with UNISA. I attended high school at Waverley Girls High School I have had great teachers and excellent role models, and have learnt over the years to depend on myself and also to learn from other people’s mistakes, as I do from my own.

Once I have qualified, I would like to work in my province, should the opportunity arise, to help bridge the gap of skills which are lacking. I have recognised the opportunities that exist within my community that can help me make a worthwhile contribution. I am doing my best to pursue these, and make them a reality.

Your contribution to my tuition has made it easier for me to handle the pressure and the challenges that this year had in store for me. The year could not have been as rewarding and experimental for me without your help. Thank you, once again, and I am sure that many other students like me appreciate the support that you give. I will always be grateful for what you have done for me and my career. Keep up the excellent work!

MBBCH, 3 - Wits. Ms D Lakhoo

Another year has come to an end and how quickly time flies! As I reminisce on the year gone by, a smile comes to my face. If one had to ask me how I would describe the last year, I would say that it has been a huge life experience and adventure that has opened my eyes to the world. I was exposed to a reality that most people my age are completely sheltered from. I do not think that I have ever learnt as much as what I have in the last year, and I don’t only mean it in an academic sense. I have grown and matured, both emotionally and psychologically, and the scary part is that this is only the beginning ...

Throughout this year, every alternate week we went on “community visits”. This entailed visiting rural clinics, old age homes, as well as organisations that care for HIV positive orphans. Exposure to places like this opens your eyes to the start realities of this country. Yes, one may see it on television, but it is only when you are there, interacting and talking to the people, do you realise how fortunate you are.

I can honestly say that some of my experiences at these places have been life changing. I would like to share one of these with you, which was during a visit to an informal settlement called Diepsloot.

The aim of the visit was to make us aware of the fact that many of our patients will come from very impoverished circumstances, and as doctors, we should be sensitive to their circumstances. However, the focus of the visit was on disability. There was a local project being run called the ‘Bona Lesedi Project’, which means “bring in the light”. The goal of this project was to try and identify all the disabled children in the community and subsequently provide them with a place to be looked after while their parents are at work. The truth is that the people living there were so poor that there was no way that they could afford to place their disabled children in a “special school” where their children could receive the necessary stimulation. The problem was thus identified when people realised that parents were “hiding” their disabled children in their homes, even to the extent that they would lock these children alone in the house if they needed to go out. The majority of these children were suffering from cerebral palsy, and they were physically as well as mentally disabled. It was, therefore, really good to know that there was this project set up for these children to be adequately looked after, even though they come from such poor backgrounds

My experiences would not have been possible, were it not for the bursary awarded to me by Link-SA Trust. Thank you kindly.

B.CH.D., 4, Univ. of the Western Cape. Ms Nomakhwezi Gcaza

It has really been a challenging year. We were doing about fifteen modules this year. It was difficult for one to even make a proper study timetable, and even if you did, it was difficult to follow it. This is because we were having clinical sessions and block courses most of the time. Lectures were carried out on Wednesdays and Fridays, the whole day. Sometimes we would have a lecture week or a test week where we would write tests the whole week. This needed one to have extra energy, which was difficult to have because we had a lot of sleepless nights.

I have to give all my best attention to studies now so that I can be a good clinician who can provide each and every patient of hers with the best treatment possible.

LLB 2, Wits Ms Nomonde Nyembe

By paying for my tuition fees, you have helped me concentrate on my studies and lessened my mother’s burden, and she too is grateful. Your help has taught me that many people care for young South Africans’ education, and has encouraged me to encourage others, like me, to further their education because with a little hard work, one can be educated with no financial worries.

I have not had any difficulties related to my studies, but I have learnt that if one is to truly succeed at anything, a lot of effort and time must be put into it. My success has proven this true on a personal level. I aspire to become the kind of person who contributes to this country becoming and remaining: democratic, free, tolerant, and a country which is a pleasure to live in. With the determination I already have towards my studies, and love I have for South Africa, this goal will surely be reached. Your contribution to my education has brought me closer to realising this goal. Thank you!

University of the Western Cape. Neo Molefe, LLB 3

The highlight of this year was when I was selected to be part of the Integrated Bar Project, which is one of the projects of the Law Society of South Africa. The project entails sending senior law students around the country to various law firms to do vacation work. By doing so they gain exposure to the practical side of the legal profession. I also gained experience working as a peer facilitator and academic mentor for junior law students which entailed sharing my experiences with junior law students on how best to balance their academic commitments.

LLB, 3 - Wits. Mr M Mota

My university experience as a student has generally been positive. In particular, I have enjoyed the extra readings that I have taken up. These are mainly History and Literature. This experience has been particularly enlightening.

BSc Audiology - UCT. Mpilo Henry Booi

This year I was doing my third year in BSc Audiology at the University of Cape Town. During my university years I have grown tremendously in my capacity as a person and in the health care profession. As a rural boy, coming from deep Eastern Cape, I was faced with many challenges which included my ability to integrate into the greater urban society. It was through the support from people like you that I have managed to overcome those challenges and become the person that I am today.

Moreover, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution towards my studies that has greatly contributed to my experience. Without your generous contribution, furthering my studies would have only remained a dream.

BACC, 2 - Wits University. Mododa Mayisela

My name is Madoda Mayisela. I grew up in Newcastle, Kwa-Zulu Natal, which is an underprivileged place where it is rare to find businesses and people are unemployed as a result of that. This situation, together with a desire to improve the standard of living of the people in Newcastle, inspired me to study for a BAcc degree with an intention of becoming a Chartered Accountant.

I have currently completed the second year of my course at the University of the Witwatersrand. This year was indeed a year of achievements to me because I can see the progress I made with my studies. Last year, I failed to get a distinction in Financial Accounting 1, but this year, my average to date is promising that if I can be consistent, I will get a distinction in Financial Accounting II. I hope to achieve the same pass with Commercial Law. In general, my performance since Matric has improved. In a test we wrote recently, I attained 95% for Managerial Accounting.

Once I complete my studies I also want to be a help to my community by assisting all those students who are desperate to further their studies, but who do not have funds to finance them. I also want to go back to where I come from after finishing my studies to establish my own company there, so that people from that community may start to enjoy a better standard of living through gaining employment.

B PHARM - 2nd year, Wits. Mr W S Khoza

Being a student at Wits Medical School, it made me learn how to work effectively under pressure and made me realise that in life, some of the things require one to go beyond the level expected. I’ve also learnt to relate the things we’ve been taught in lectures with real life situations, and I now understand the meaning of tertiary education. My highlights for this year were when I was given an opportunity to do my 16 hours community service at Johannesburg Hospital Pharmacy, and I organised and performed Pharmacy Week activities at Natalspruit Hospital, which gave me a chance to learn how the real world of my career functions. It also gave me the opportunity to feel the joy and satisfaction most health professionals gain after helping a patient. It’s been a hard year, but worthwhile.

I would like to thank you once more for helping me with my fees and hope that you will still find it in your hearts to continue with the good job that you are doing. As for my academic performance, I will not be of any disappointment.

B SC (ELEC) (MECH) - 2nd Year - UCT. Michael Tladi

I am intending to become an electrical/mechanical engineer because my background inspired me. It is painful to grow without biological parents, but on the other hand, I realised that I could do it without them. Every question that I have, God knows it and I am glad that He is watching me. I was involved in fixing cars and electrical and mechanical equipment. I used to electrify houses in Pretoria. I found it exciting and interesting, and that’s when I realised that my future lies in that field.

My heart has a desire, which is to work in this field of my study, and at least put a hand on those who have the ambition to study and improve South Africa economically. I realised through me that there are a lot of potential students out there, but because of resources, they find no way forward.

I would like to thank you very much for supporting my funds of study at University of Cape Town. I do not know where I would be without you.

B Pharm. 2nd Year – UWC. Z S Magxala (Mr)

My ambition after completing my studies is to go to work for all South Africans, lift the standards of health in South Africa and Africa as a whole. To all those who are without money to further their studies, they must do something in their communities, identify opportunities and try to benefit out of those opportunities. To remain free of drugs and other unjustified activities. Respect themselves and others is the only way to be a better person. I am saying this from experience, because I stayed for 6 years without money to further my studies.

The only problem I experienced this year was hunger, because I didn’t have enough money for food, as I don’t have any financial support. I am humbly requesting you to cover me with meals next year.

B SC (ENG) - 2nd Year - Wits. Sandy van der Zanden

Throughout my two years of engineering I have learned a great deal about myself, and about others. Many times when things seemed impossible, someone was there with a kind word or offer of assistance. For example, I spent most of my lunch breaks in my first year in my math lecturer’s office, patching up the gaps in my understanding. This was very kind of him, as he had no obligation to help me, but he helped nonetheless. People like that can change the world. I hope one day to be one of those people, to be at the forefront of change.

MBBCH - 5th Year - Wits. Russell D Govender

When I think of the future, it is hard to believe how far I’ve come, and being so close to the end fills me with excitement and apprehension. I look forward to my years as an Intern and Community Service Doctor, but the thought of finally entering the real world and giving up the student life is a bit intimidating. Further into the future, I hope to specialise in Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. I certainly see myself staying in this beautiful country of ours, to do my small part to make this country a better place.

B COM - 2nd Year - UCT. Miss S Kgasago

I have learned that determination is the way to success, and only those who are determined and work hard can reach their destinies. Only those who study with an understanding of the subject matter can easily pass with good grades.

I hope to make more people aware of the information systems field, especially people in the rural areas where there is no or little knowledge about computers.

B.Com - 2nd Year - UCT. Tyrone Joubert

One of the major challenges I faced this year was a yearning for proper in-home study facilities, especially with accounting, where you need to sit at a desk and not on the floor on a blanket at a coffee table.

On a positive note, I am glad to say that I averaged 60% for the year. Though I am not totally satisfied, I am glad that God blessed me, and that I don’t have to repeat any of my courses this year. Some of my friends failed 2 - 3 subjects, but I am thankful that I made the finish successfully. Apart from al the hard work, I had another achievement: I recorded my own single song I wrote on CD in studio in September. In addition, I am playing in a professional jazz youth band, and I really enjoy it as I am learning a lot. I also joined the gym with another goal of putting on some muscle, and also it is a good way of relaxing after long hours of studying.

Lastly, I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude towards all donors who made this year possible for me. I believe that what you make happen for someone else, God will make happen for you!

BSC (PHYSIOTHERAPY) - 2nd Year - Wits Juliet Emanuel

Academically, I have reached all the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Anatomy, the study of the human body, dissecting cadavers and learning and discovering the intricate details while doing so has been a life-altering experience. I have received an overall year mark of 76% and was therefore exempted from writing final examinations.

By living in residence I have made lifelong friends, and being so involved in their everyday lives, I have learnt so much about the differences in people’s families and personalities. Many of my friends have struggled with 2nd year and just being able to help them and offer advice has been so gratifying. I have also been involved in a university tutoring programme for 1st years which, although takes up a lot of time, has been worth it for the feeling of self-reward knowing others depend on you. The pay has also been helpful as it is really needed.

Overall this year has been the best, although not easiest year of my life. It has made me realise that coming to Wits to study physiotherapy was the wisest decision I have ever made. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity and took it as this was definitely the plan God laid down for my life. My heart tells me each time I see someone in need of physical or emotional help, that caring for them is my destiny.

B COM (ECON & STATS) - 3rd (final year) - UCT. Bongani Moyo

Thank you, Mr Raphaely, and the Link-SA Fund, for yet another opportunity for me to obtain funding for my studies. The money has helped me to stay focused on my studies and not to worry about finances. Please keep on supporting the needy students so that they can have an opportunity such as the one you have given me.

My plans for next year are to get a job which I have started applying for. Two companies are promising me something but if a job does not come up, I will do a postgraduate diploma in Marketing which I have been accepted for.

Looking back, I have had to go through tough times coming from different issues, but I am still standing, and the Lord has been with me all the way. Please pray for me, and I will pray for you too to not lose heart and keep on helping the needy.

B. Pharm III - UWC. Ms N Amardien

My name is Naiema Amardien and I live in Lansdowne in Cape Town. I am 21 years old and have a keen interest in Pharmacy. I am the youngest of seven children and I am the only one that has decided to study further. The reason for this is because of the lack of finances, some of my brothers and sisters did not even finish school because my parents could not afford it. I was a bit fortunate because I decided to work hard and complete my matric to achieve my dream of becoming a pharmacist.

One of my main goals is to make my parents proud. I would love to show my appreciation to both of them in the best way I can. My parents always did the best they could do for me in all ways they could - they stood by me and guided me to make the best decisions. I will never be more grateful for the fact that they did not object to me studying further. I know it does put extra strain on them, but I know that in the end, I will be able to help them.

This year has been trying, but sacrifice and hard work has never hurt anyone. One of the toughest ordeals that I had to face this year was not academic, but personal. My mother is very ill and the fact that I can’t do anything to help her eats me up inside. Everyone tells me to focus on my studies. I try very hard but it kills me that my mother is lying there and I have to go to campus. I never try to bring any of my problems at home with me to campus because I feel there are people worse off than me. I am one of the fortunate ones. Some days when I came home it was dark and I was too exhausted to do anything that night. This was what I expected - I did not expect anything to be easy. I work hard and I give everything to make my dream come true. This year I felt that I needed to work harder because the volume of work I needed to know had increased tenfold. I was so glad that I made it in the first semester because at one stage I thought I was going to fail.

I decided this year to help with the Western Cape School of Pharmacy Spacer project, where we make alternative spacer inhaler devices for the asthmatic children at Red Cross Hospital. It’s very sad to see how a child with asthma struggles for breath, and these devices assist with the correct administration of their medication in their metered dose inhalers.

At the school of pharmacy, I feel as if we are a family, and I would like to thank you for making this a brighter opportunity for me. Without your support I don’t think I would ever experience any of this. I feel that in the future I would love to help people that are in the same position as I was, and by doing so, enhance the lives of others. After I have finished my degree, I would like to be able to reach out to people that are less fortunate than me, and help them as best I can. I feel by educating myself I can educate others so that they can improve themselves.

B PHARM - 3rd Year – UWC. Ms Katrin Stülpner

During the June holidays I volunteered at Groote Schuur Hospital’s pharmacy. This was a great experience, as I understood how pharmacists can overcome difficulties such as understaffing, lack of money and lack of facilities in the public sector effectively. In spite of these hurdles, it was always possible to help patients and even put a smile on their faces. The pharmacist is often the one person a patient will ask for advice on anything. This inspired me to strive constantly towards being the best pharmacist I can be and ensure that I am helping people by advising them correctly.

My work at Groote Schuur Hospital has influenced my plans for the future significantly. I would like to complete my internship and community service at a teaching hospital. I believe this will be the most suitable environment in which I will then also be able to pursue future academic and teaching interests. In this way I intend to pass on my knowledge to future pharmacists so that they will also be able to better people’s lives.

I thank you for enabling me to realise my dream to become a pharmacist. You have opened many doors for me and I wish to take that gesture forward and open doors for the community I am a part of.

LL B - 2nd year - UWC. Ms Sandy Oliver

My goal for next year, deo volente, is to achieve excellent results through hard work and determination and to qualify for the Dean’s list, which would place me in good stead for doing my articles in two years’ time.

I hope to, after completing my articles, join a well established Law firm of good repute. After many years of practising Law, I will endeavour to enforce the law by presiding as a judge in the Constitutional Court.

Once again, allow me to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and heartfelt gratitude for investing in my future.

B Dentistry - 4th Year - Wits. Ms Anjana Bhana

Thanks once again for granting R10 000 to me to assist me in financing my studies. Without it, I really don’t know what I would do.

This has been the most challenging year so far. We’ve started treating patients at the beginning of the year. It’s very enjoyable interacting with all sorts of different people. This year, I have discovered if I want to be a brilliant dentist, I have to start doing my own research and not relying only on the lectures and notes. We have to learn everywhere: journals, clinics, doctors, and be more active about actual learning instead of mindless studying. It’s scary, but I don’t want to be a complete idiot when I graduate. Next year, I will be in 5th year - one step closer to being a dentist.

My plans for the future:

  1. I plan to come back after graduating to teach other students in the clinics.
  2. Start something called “Dentists for Dentists” - a bursary scheme where former graduates can contribute to students’ studies (even just for things like text books).
  3. Perhaps specialise in Maxillo-Facial Surgery, because Johannesburg has one of the highest incidences of facial trauma (gunshot wounds, fractures) in the world.

Once again, thanks so much for all your support in my third and fourth year. This year seems like a dream now - all the difficulties have disappeared, and the positives stick out

B CH D - 3rd Year - UWC. Anver Messiahs

This year has been successful, thanks to your financial assistance. The year was filled with adventures and excitements. I was elected and was part of a group of five students from my class to do voluntary work on the Phelophepa Primary Health Care Train. This train visits the rural areas of the country, and provide primary health to the rural communities of South Africa. Some of these areas still don’t have formal healthcare facilities, and the train that visits every two years are their only access to health care.

We, as the dental team, provided care in the form of extractions, fillings, polishing and education to the communities of Worcester and Malmesbury. It was such a rewarding feeling, knowing that we changed someone’s lives forever. We also had the opportunity to meet with students from other disciplines and universities.

Next year will be my final year, and thanks to your financial contribution, it looks promising. I would like to make use of this opportunity to express my gratitude to your trust for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to reach my dream.

MBCHB - 4th - UCT. Marshall Lockett

I am the eldest son of three children, and live in Piketberg, Western Cape. I am grateful to my parents for their continuous love, encouragement and support.

I delivered 16 babies during my obstetrics course. It was an amazing and memorable experience which stressed the importance of responsibility and professionalism.

After my experiences during this year, I feel that becoming a competent general practitioner is much more rewarding than becoming a specialist.

I would like to thank you again for awarding me the bursary.

B SC (OCC THER) - 4th Year - UCT. Ms Zakeera Ganie

Over the past year I have grown tremendously. Having had the opportunity to practice working as an occupational therapy student at various placements in Cape Town, I have gained experience in a variety of fields. These include working in the Lower Crossroads community with home-based carers, working with acute psychiatric patients at Groote Schuur Hospital, and working with visually impaired and blind members at Western Cape Association for the Blind. Each placement has contributed to my growing knowledge and has allowed me to practice using existing knowledge.

This whole year’s experience, in conjunction with my previous 3 years, has taught me to be a more grounded and appreciate person. It has also inspired me to dedicate the knowledge I have gained to helping people and improve their quality of life.

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for your contribution to my studies.

B SC (AUDIO) - UCT. Ms Robyn Richards

In the middle of the year, I received a portfolio on details of my bursary granted by Link-SA. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for considering me as a beneficiary. I was indeed extremely interested in learning about the background of Link-SA, and felt honoured to be a part of your organisation.

I am completing my second year of a B.Sc. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, I find great interest in learning about languages and communication and feel that it is of utmost importance in breaking down cultural barriers and effectively bringing health care to the majority of South Africans. From an economic and cultural perspective, I believe communication is pivotal in shaping a South Africa that will reflect the unity and spirit of its people. Living on a farm, I was able to learn the local language, Shona, and I believe that this factor alone gave me a considerable insight into the culture, and thus strengthened by sense of identify as an African. My goal is to become an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, and qualify as a medical doctor. I aim to live and work in Southern Africa, where I believe my knowledge and expertise will be most profitable to the communities I intend to serve.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your assistance in helping me realise my goals. I am indeed very grateful, and hope that I may be able to contribute to your organisation in the future.

B COM - 2nd year – Wits Shaimal Bhika

The biggest feeling of success was receiving a letter from the Golden Key International Honour Society. The letter informed me that I was part of the top 15% of all BComm students for the year. I was somewhat surprised, as I had aimed to achieve high marks but being in the top 15% was not part of my mission statement. I realised that even if I don’t specifically aim for certain things, if I just aim for success I would achieve beyond my wildest dreams.

Wits stands by the slogan that they “give you the edge”. I truly believe that they have given me the edge. The demanding workloads of this year have led me to improve my time and stress management skills. Under extreme circumstances, I stayed focused, refusing to give up. Instead, I concentrated only on the rewarding feeling I would have once I was awarded with an A. Additionally, I developed the attitude that I should have efficiency with time and effectiveness with people. This assisted me in meeting work deadlines and enhancing my personal relationships.

BSC. Agric - 4th Year - Stellenbosch University. Dumisani Mathonsi

So far, everything is going OK with my course because I have already got my degree on the tenth of December this year, so now I have to decide whether to further my studies by doing my masters degree or to go to work. So far I got an offer as an assistant winemaker in Stellenbosch, and that will really help me to gain more experience with regard to wine making, because I really need experience more than I realise. Working as an assistant winemaker will really expose me to a lot of things involved in the wine industry, and I hope I will learn a lot. The farm I will be working for hopefully will give me an opportunity to go to work overseas, preferably in France, during the harvesting season, to get to know how they do their wines.

The lessons I have learnt as a student is that if you work hard and enjoy what you are doing, and you are determined to succeed, no matter what problems you may have, nothing is impossible. Well, for me to study in Stellenbosch was really a challenge, but I had no choice but to face it and try to match with the life standard concerned, and due to passion and determination, I managed to match and exceed, and I completed my four year degree in exactly four years, without any difficulties.

I would like to thank you again for the support Link-SA Fund is giving to needy students of South Africa, and wish you all the best, and may God keep you and your families safe during this festive season. Keep up the good work of helping us to make our dreams come true.

BACC F/T - 2nd Year - Wits. Ms H Essop

As a Computational Mathematics tutor, I learn how important helping others and sharing knowledge is. One student in particular, a blind student, touched my heart. I was inspired by his hope and determination. I realised that no matter how difficult things become, you should never give up and you should never stop trying. You should always believe in yourself and in your ability to succeed.

Second Year Medicine - UCT Thuthuka Gumbi

My mother got a job offer that turned to be a grotesque nightmare which resulted in her becoming bankrupt. This event truly affected every aspect of my life, but I grew strong from it. This year I learnt to face hunger, depression, lack of study material and hopelessness with bravery and faith, even though my marks dropped about 15% and 10%, I was able in the end to increase them by 20 and 30%. In the end I had a year mark of 64% and 65% for Anatomy and Physiology respectively.

One of the things that kept me going in this harsh period was the faith you had shown in me by offering me a bursary and an opportunity at life.

Socially, I would like to think I have matured. For the first time in my life I had friendships with people from groups other than black that were based on trust and no hidden agendas. That destroyed all my preconceived ideas about other people and to be honest these are the kind of friends I have not made in years and some of the best friends I will ever have. When the rest of the world seemed like walking out on me, they walked in. It is then where I truly started treasuring my life at UCT. It became more than an academic struggle and something I dare not lose for any reason.

Unfortunately I do not have the exact results of this academic year since I have not paid my family contribution due to my family financial circumstance at the moment, but as soon as God helps us to pay, you will be the first one to receive them. I would still like to pass my gratitude for the confidence you have shown in me. I have never had a bursary in my life and I would do whatever is in my power to keep it. I do know I have passed from my preliminary results, the details of which you will receive shortly.

Final Year Physiotherapy - UCT. Janine Aspeling

My final year at the University of Cape Town has been amazing and I thank Link SA that I could meet my bursar personally. It was such a great motivation to be able to communicate freely via email or personal meetings. I now have a mentor for life, someone who is always available to offer guidance and one who is interested in me, not only as a student, but as a person holistically. Thank you Link SA for contributing to a wonderful year.

Fourth year LLB, Wits. Yolande Kleinhans

I was also enrolled as a student in the Street Law Course, which is a hands-on lecture course at Wits that sends us, the students, to rural communities, schools and prisons, informing people of their rights and what the law does to help them. I partook in all of the programmes but focused primarily on the prison block. I was assigned to Johannesburg Maximum Security Prison. There I was exposed to juvenile offenders who faced a period of 15 years of imprisonment. We dealt with issues including HIV/AIDS, poverty, crime, writing of appeals and court procedures. The experience was vastly different from what I expected, but I can strongly say that I learned more about how the legal system actually works than what I could learn from books in a library.

As I look back now, this was definitely a year filled with new experiences, most of which would probably not have been possible had I not received financial assistance from Link-SA.

For this I extend my deepest appreciation. What the fund has given me extends further than just to a monetary value, it has given me something that can never be taken away - knowledge and experience. Again, I express my thanks.

Fourth Year, Medicine - Wits. Dharshnee Chetty

It is very difficult for me to look back on this year with anything more than anguish and pain. My father was hijacked and shot on the 28th of July and subsequently passed away due to his injuries on the 9th of August. Following these tragic, not to mention traumatic events, these few months have been the hardest and most trying of my life. Having to care for my mother and siblings took a lot out of me, not to mention the loss of my father.

I did, however, manage to gather enough strength and fortitude that was required of me to finish the year and complete my end of year exams. It was fortunate that I did manage to pass all my 4th year courses and will progress to 5th year next year.

Final Year Medicine - Wits. Nasreen Mahomed

As a recipient of a Link S A Trust Fund bursary, I would like to use this opportunity to thank this organisation for their financial contribution. Your help is truly appreciated, in particular this year, when my father was not working.

Due to financial constraints, life at medical school has always been difficult, with no car and having to take 2 buses to go to medical school or the hospitals, standing in the pouring rain when no taxis were available at 6 p.m., not having text books, long hours spent in the library due to having no money, while care-free friends went out for lunch, movies and bowling. I admit that these six years have been a trying time, but none of the years have been as difficult as my final year, this year. In April, my father sustained a complete fracture of his left hip after a particularly severe seizure. He had a total hip replacement, but developed serious post-operative complications, including a seven day period of delirium. Because of physical disability from this and previous attacks, doctors found him unfit for work and he was required to apply for a disability grant.

A month later, while waiting for a bus to go to Johannesburg Hospital, I was mugged. Not only did I lose money, valuable books and paediatric notes, I lost the presentation material I was to present for exam purposes to the Paediatrics Department two days later. During the same month, I was confronted by robbers who tried to break into our house.

I am the eldest, my brother who was one year younger than me died recently of septicaemia. I have one younger sister who has started first year medicine. With my father on a grant, it would be my responsibility to support the family. It is for this reason that the bursary from Link-SA Trust Fund helped so much!

Second Year BSC (Chem) Eng., UCT. S T REDDY (Ms)

I was appointed a tutor for my residence, which helped me to meet other chemical engineers and allow me to guide them away from the mistakes that I made in my first year. It gave me a sense of self worth that I was able to ease another’s troubles. I was so grateful for all your help; it was only fair that I helped another.

In November, some people came to interview me with respect to the bursary I was offered. They told me of the many people they had interviewed thus far; it was astounding that Link SA has helped so many people like myself. I was so touched that I could be part of such a selfless organisation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to humbly ask if there is any possibility that Link SA would continue the bursary awarded to me. My father is unemployed and my mother is the sole supporter of the family. This is an extreme burden on my mum, as she has to see that the bond for the house is paid and that my fees are paid, amongst other things. I am trying to do whatever possible to ease her pain. We would be forever grateful if you would help me to do this.

Once again, I offer my deepest gratitude. May God bless you and everyone at Link SA and may you continue your good work for years to come.

BSC (ENG) (ELEC) - UCT. D S Masango

I am hoping to use the experience I’m getting here to help upgrade my disadvantaged community. I believe it is valuable for us to give back to those who have given to us. The knowledge I’m getting at UCT will help me in becoming the best engineer in my field. I believe this will boost our economy since our country is in need of engineers.

Bachelor of Business Science, Third Year - UCT. Karen Miller

The only real difficulty I have experienced this year is that of our financial situation as a result of my father being unemployed. I casual weekends at Pick ‘n Pay, so I don’t have a lot of free time to engage in extramural activities and for much socialising. This current situation has taught me quite a bit. I’ve learnt to be more responsible, to manage my time effectively and to make sacrifices. I’ve also learnt a lot from my father, who is a really good role model. He has been unemployed for so long, yet he remains having a positive and healthy attitude and outlook on life. He continues to have faith and constantly reminds us that we are getting by and have a lot to be grateful for.

Fourth year, Medicine - Wits Y Atiya

Further, upon finally entering the wards of South Africa’s hospitals, the full extent of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic hits home. This is not my problem, or your problem. It is everyone’s problem. It does not affect only the individual concerned, but everyone remotely associated with him/her. The panic surrounding the disease finally makes sense once one has seen these patients.

Medicine, Second Year - Wits. Catherine Gouws

It was with elation and disbelief that I discovered this wonderful honour had been bestowed upon me. I wish to thank the trustees for considering me and for granting me this opportunity.

My second year of study at Wits Medical School has presented challenges, disappointments, surprises and insights. I began this year guessing correctly that much time would need to be devoted to academics. I am pleased to say that I did just that and managed to achieve Firsts in three of my four subjects (results for my fourth subject were not available at the time of writing). I owe these marks, in part, to the timely arrival of your acceptance brochure. Due to the financial problems experienced by single parent homes I have been working at a pharmacy since I completed my matriculation examinations and the strain of after-hours work has taken its toll. Since receiving your letter I have been able to decrease my work-load at the pharmacy and devote more of my time and energy to my studies.

Attending Medical School has broadened my horizons and taught me the value of questioning the status quo. This year I became part of SHAC, the Student HIV Action Committee, and participated in the National AIDS march, part of which was held in the streets of Braamfontein in Johannesburg.

I am conscious of both my responsibilities to the New South Africa and the career prospects that are presented to a young doctor who chooses to stay here. Growing up in Johannesburg, combined with spending many hours in a nursing home, has shown me the tremendous amount of problems that exist in our health care system. I intend to devote my professional life to helping to solve some of these. I wish to work for the public service and become involved in research at Wits. I am particularly interested in infectious diseases and oncology. I hope to become involved in helping the victims of rape and child abuse at some point in my career. I am enthusiastic about my chosen career and my prospects.

I wish to thank the Trustees again.

Third Year, Medicine Wits Medical School. Vernon Naidoo

It must be said that 3rd year medicine lived up to all the horror stories told about it and definitely was a challenge to which we all had to rise. Pathology and Microbiology were huge challenges and required constant dedication and hard work to be bearable. However, despite all the sleepless nights and droopy eyes, clouds started to rise and medicine became real. With pathology and microbiology the reason for which I had chosen this career, which was to study and understand the disease process in order to be able to help people, inspired me all over again.

This was an exciting year and I took the opportunity to be involved in as many projects and events as possible. I became a member of SSI. As a club we took the initiative to educate children in Hillbrow with regard to AIDS. Our main project though was to provide basic medical services and food (along with the local church group), to homeless people in the inner and outer city of Johannesburg every Wednesday night. Very quickly the fear of the dangers involved in being at such a late hour in Johannesburg city vanished as I saw how much appreciated and needed we were to these people.

In October I went on a rural doctors conference to Mpumulanga that was hosted by RUDASA. There I attended workshops detailing the need for doctors in rural areas and was so deeply inspired that I have made it my goal to become actively involved in rural health. At the conference I was elected as one of the two students’ representatives of RUDASA and our role is to discuss issues and exchange ideas concerning rural health.

I also held down two jobs this year: One as a data capturer at Momentum Life Insurance, and the other as a research assistant in the bioethics department. I was often working eight hour days as I had to pay rent and buy textbooks, and even though I sometimes had to sacrifice some of my study time, I have no regrets, as I believe that I can now manage my time more effectively and it has strengthened my character.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to say thank you to you, the trustees of the Link-SA Trust Fund who have once again made this year more possible for me. Your generosity is greatly and sincerely appreciated. I hope that I have made and will continue to make your gracious efforts worthwhile and will most certainly do my very best to always perform to the best of my ability and be true to my promise: to always work with the end of helping people better their health.

Second Year, Pharmacy - Wits T E S Shange

I also found it easier to speak English without being ashamed that I might mis-use words and tenses. In fact, I gained confidence in myself when expressing my feelings and perceptions. I found it also easy to mix with different people from different cultures and backgrounds. It became fun to adjust to different environments around campus because of the friendly environment that I received from our lecturers and students.

Fourth Year, Medicine - Wit. Ismail A Dindar

This year, I not only experienced more theoretical knowledge, but for the first time came face to face with a patient. It is, as I thought, totally different from what I have already experienced. I was not only excited but also AFRAID; afraid of what to expect, how to react and also afraid of not knowing enough.

I would like to thank Link SA Trust for helping me achieve my goal. Investing in knowledge is investing in the future. This is definitely an investment that will reap rewards, especially for the underprivileged and those in need. My goal is “Better health care for all, especially the under-privileged” not only financially but through advice also.

B COM, Second Year - UCT. Estelle Kutumela

I worked as hard as I could by studying the courses I was doing during the year. I also became involved in several activities, which are listed below.

Orientation Assistance (Commerce Academic Development Program)
Camp Leader (SAICA Business Camp)
Food representative (Baxter Hall)
Flat representative (Baxter Hall)
Sub-committee member: Internet Sports
Choir Conductor (Student Christian Fellowship)

Information Systems (Commerce Academic Development Program)
Financial Accounting 1 A (Commerce Academic Development Program)
Statistics 101 (Commerce Academic Development Program)

UCT Ladies Soccer

Usher (Student Christian Fellowship)

The above listed activities helped me to gain both academically and socially.

B BUS SC, Third Year - UCT Bongani Moyo

All in all, the year was a blessing which Link-SA has been a part of because without you I will not have had a successful year. Thank you Link-SA again for your faith in me in offering me your finances for my studies. I do not know how really I can thank you, but may God bless you all for your help.

Final Year, Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University. Lizaan van Niekerk

Your support these past two years has meant so much to me - I cannot thank you enough. You give financial support to students who have little and do not even expect anything in return. I believe that you will truly be blessed for this. I will strive to make the most of my professional life in order to help others like me one day.

Second Year, BSC (Chem) Eng Wits. Nazia Hassan Kera

My greatest dream is to graduate in two years time. I know that it’s going to be tough and very challenging and there would be times when quitting seems a better course of action. I will try to work hard to achieve my goals. The Chemical Engineering industry is so diverse and has so many branches, but I hope to be involved in research and development of alternate sources of energy, since our industry is run on fuel, and in doing so, benefit South Africa, my country.

Final Year, LLB, Wits. Trevor Boswell

On the whole, I can only look back on the last five years and smile. I have made many life-long friendships along the way. My decision to go to Wits as opposed to any other institution is in my mind still the best thing I could ever have done, and I definitely figured it out along the way. My immediate future begins on the 13th of January at Werksmans Attorneys where I am serving my articles for the next two years, and with my foot in the door of the firm that I always wanted to be at, my goal for the more distant future is to see my name in the footnote of a Werksmans’ letterhead as a senior partner.

I would like to thank you and the Link-SA Fund again for the opportunity that you have given me. It is one that will never be forgotten, and will always be greatly appreciated.

Second Year, Pharmacy - UWC. T P Munzhelele

Regarding the bashes and parties that were on campus this year, I attended few of them because I did not have time. I made sure that I chose what is important between going to the bash or failing the test. I always chose the test and I passed them.

See How We Changed These Students Lives

Humaira Bulbulia

5th Year in Medicine

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Mfana Khanyile

Second Year of Articles

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Victoria Mokwena

5th Year Medical Student from Wits Univerity