Five students from the College of Law and Management Studies, Mr Thavashalin Pillay, Mr Imraan Akoo, Ms Shanice Naicker, Ms Dayantha Subrayadu and Ms Layla Shah received the Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to the five top undergraduates proceeding from first- to second-year in each of UKZN’s four Colleges.
Pillay, a Bachelor of Business Science student said the scholarship is very welcome as his parents have been paying for both him and his brother to attend UKZN.
‘My brother and I are only 18 months apart and one academic year behind each other. The scholarship has lifted a great burden off our shoulders and also given me a confidence boost as I am more sure of myself now than when I started university,’ he said.
The top achiever received the Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Academic Work in 2018 and for the first semester of 2019 as well as various merit awards.
‘I see myself working in a bank’s headquarters and after a couple of years migrating overseas. I was offered the opportunity to participate in the UKZN student exchange programme this year; however, there were a few difficulties and I am hoping that I will be able to study overseas next year. I have my eye on the University of Calgary in Canada,’ said Pillay.
Witnessing the sacrifices her parents had to make to ensure that she receives the best education motivated Shah to do well academically.
‘Not only will this scholarship help me and my family financially; it will also keep me motivated and serve as a reminder that anything is possible if you are willing to put in the effort,’ she said.
The Law student who describes herself as a feminist, an animal rights ambassador and a firm believer in equality for all living beings said she is looking forward to using her legal knowledge to promote social justice.
‘I wanted to get a qualification that would allow me to make a difference in this world and fight for what I believe in. My goal is to become an advocate and my LLB degree will provide me with a strong foundation for my future legal career,’ she said.
A supportive community, hard work and dedication are the recipe for Law student Akoo’s success.
‘My most difficult challenge was overcoming the death of my mother when I was in Grade 10. I lived alone with her for many years and her passing had an impact on my performance at school. However, with my family’s guidance and support, and the guidance of the teachers at Sastri College, I achieved good matric results,’ said Akoo. He plans to pursue a career as an admitted attorney.
‘This scholarship has allowed me to see some material reward for my efforts in first year and motivates me to continue to work hard and achieve my full potential. It is an incredible feeling when the work that nobody sees you put in is recognised. I plan to graduate with the kind of results that would allow me to do my articles of clerkship at a large, established law firm,’ he said.
For Subrayadu the scholarship is welcome relief.
‘My mother is a single parent of two. I felt awful about placing the financial burden of going to university along with everything else that she had to take care of on her shoulders. Having NSFAS is not enough,’ she said.
The Law student who enjoys debating said she is looking forward to exploring the opportunities arising from her legal studies.
‘While I am still unsure about my future career, what I am certain of is that I want to help people. I want proper knowledge of the law to be easily accessible to all,’ she said.
For Naicker, the scholarship is proof that hard work, determination and commitment yield great rewards.
‘This scholarship means so much to me because my parents have to put two children through university,’ she said.
The Law student plans to pursue a career as an attorney and use her career to help others.
‘One of my passions in life is helping people. I decided to pursue a career in Law because I felt that it would equip me to help people and their families, companies and even organisations. I plan on getting my articles at a good firm after I finish my degree and thereafter pursue a career as an attorney,’ said Naicker.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photographs: Sthabiso Mkhonza and supplied