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MANDLA MABALE

“I have paid back my NSFAS loan, I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t do it if they can. It’s that simple, someone else believed in you and your dream enough to give you a chance to realise it, it takes you to honour the agreement by paying back the money, and you give someone the same opportunity”



Career Field : Information Technology
Occupation : IT Consultant
Years Funded : 2002, 2003, and 2004
Institution : Wits University
Qualification : Bachelor of Science

I grew up in Johannesburg, born and bred there in the township of Soweto. I schooled there all my life, from primary to high school. Growing up, my family was not rich and although we never went to bed hungry there were limits to what they could provide for me and my siblings. My father worked at a textile company and my mother as an administrator at an office in Pretoria.

We were quite a regular family, but university fees are not a regular thing, they are expensive and my family was already stretched. After completing my matric in 2001, I obviously had financial challenges like everyone else from that kind of background. My parents had four kids in total, two boys and two girls. During my matric year I researched and found out all I could about university and funding because I knew my family could never manage financially, it was a do or die situation. That is when I found out about NSFAS, whom at the time was operating through the universities’ financial aid offices. I applied for NSFAS and filled out the forms as honest as possible, I got funding.

I was chuffed at that because it was either that or no school. I initially wanted to study medicine, but had conflicting passions once I got to university, I was fascinated by numbers/tech quite a lot. After 3rd year of medicine I decided to graduate out with a Bachelor of Science (BSC) and continued with my passion for systems engineering and computer science through a scholarship. Throughout my studies towards my BSC, NSFAS paid for 60% of my tuition fees and I knew I had to work extremely hard to retain the funding, as a result most of the loan money was converted into a bursary because of my good grades.

My financial eligibility increased with each year. I am currently working for Delloite as an IT consultant, I have been with the company for 7 years. It’s an exciting environment and it doesn’t feel like you are working for the same company as you work with different clients all the time. I have travelled all over Africa with work and my career has moved from strength to strength. I am also giving back to the community by assisting an organisation that teaches black kids how to be technology savvy. I have also had a chance to with NSFAS before, which was a very fulfilling experience for me as it gave me a chance to plough back to the organisation that played a huge role in my life while also doing something I love.

ADVICE TO CURRENT NSFAS STUDENTS:

“I cannot emphasize enough how crucial NSFAS is in the lives of the financially needy. There is a bulk number of students, graduates and respected professionals whose future was bleak, and without the assistance from NSFAS, they wouldn’t have made it”.

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