Musawenkosi Vilakazi of Soweto, Given Mahlangu of Mpumalanga and Bongani Lunga of Roodekop in Ekurhuleni are the lucky winners of study bursaries sponsored by Elegant Fuel collectively valued at R270 000 for 2019.
The trio was among more than 200 students nominated in an online bursary competition held during December 2018.
Vilakazi will be studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting at the University of Johannesburg. He was “excited and emotional” upon hearing the news of his bursary win, as his parents had been struggling to meet the cost of his tuition fees.
“I would like to commend Elegant Fuel on their bursary initiative and encourage them to keep funding students like myself. There are many people my age out there who have the potential to change the country for the better, but they do not have access to money for their studies,” says Vilakazi.
Mahlangu has set his sights on a career in electrical engineering “at a large firm like Eskom”. He will be studying towards a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Pretoria.
Says Mahlangu: “This bursary will help me a lot. I can now focus on my studies without worrying about how I will pay for accommodation or food. It will enable me to excel academically.”
Ready for the challenges of chemical engineering studies at the University of Pretoria, Lunga says he is very grateful for being awarded a bursary. His message to Elegant Fuel is: “I will make you proud and your money won’t go to waste.”
The bursaries – which cover study fees, books and stationery, accommodation, a laptop and food for 2019 – were made available to students enrolled for studies in the fields of engineering, accounting and marketing, for undergraduate or postgraduate studies, in a competition run on Elegant Fuel’s social media pages.
According to Elegant Group director Ryno Strydom, the bursary initiative arose after Elegant Fuel identified a gap in the existing tertiary education bursary offering.
“Some students have an incredible work ethic, but because they are not straight ‘A’ students, they seldom qualify for bursaries,” he says. “But Elegant believes that people shine in various ways, which should be embraced.”
Students who had been accepted by an accredited South African tertiary academic institution and who required financial assistance could nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else. More than 200 nominations were received, with each nominee having to motivate why they deserved an Elegant Fuel study bursary.
Nominated by his high-school friend Richard, Lunga was described as a “super-intelligent student who works to his full potential and produces good-quality results”.
Apart from his outstanding academic results at Highlands North Boys’ High School, Lunga also demonstrated exceptional leadership ability as deputy president of the school, president of the Interact Club and secretary of the Columba Leadership group. He also showed his sports prowess as a member of the school’s first rugby and cricket sides.
Thoko Mahlangu nominated her son Given for a bursary. “He battled with poor results in 2017, but worked hard to achieve good grades in 2018. For all the hard work he puts in, Given deserves a bursary that will cover his fees. That way, he can focus solely on his grades and continue getting good results.
“Given has proved that if you fall, you can definitely rise and come back stronger.”
Nominated by his elder sister Swazi, Vilakazi is described as someone who demonstrates “excellent leadership qualities and community engagement [and whose] outstanding academic achievements have made him stand out among his peers”. His bursary will alleviate the financial pressure on his parents, who are pensioners.
“Elegant Fuel’s bursary initiative has an encouraging outlook – it’s about true empowerment for all,” adds Strydom.