Triphin Mudzvengi, who got seven distinctions but is not eligible for NSFAS funding, registered at Wits University on Monday. From left to right: Polate Mudzvengi, Triphin Mudzvengi and Ian Jandrell (Dean of Engineering at Wits). Photo supplied
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South Africa: Zimbabwean who got seven distinctions has started university

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of donors and ordinary people whose contributions will change Triphin’s life”

Triphin Mudzvengi successfully registered at Wits University on Monday.

Last week GroundUp reported how Mudzvengi, who matriculated in North West Province with seven distinctions, is not eligible for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding because she is Zimbabwean. Her parents are part-time workers who could not raise the nearly R150,000 needed to study Mechanical Engineering at Wits this year.

Mudzvengi also cannot approach the Zimbabwean embassy for any assistance. This is because regulations to the Refugees Amendment Act, that came into effect in January, remove asylum status from refugees who seek assistance from their governments.

With the help of well-wishers who paid for her tuition fees she successfully enrolled for civil engineering. Wits also gave her a top-performer discount of R15,000.

Mudzvengi came from Zimbabwe with her parents in 2010 when she was in grade three. Her father is a part-time bricklayer while her mother is a domestic worker.

She was a top achiever at Golf View Park Secondary School in Mahikeng.

Polate Mudzvengi, Triphin’s father, thanked people who came to the aid of his daughter. “The amount raised by well-wishers was enough to pay for this year. I am delighted that her dream of going to university has been realised. We believe that she will continue to perform well and ultimately get a bursary for the entire four years.”

“We are still struggling with getting textbooks,” said Polate.

Family friend and coordinator of the fund raising programme, Priscilla Marodza, said foreign nationals should unite and assist each other.

“The story of Triphin is an eye opener to all foreign nationals living outside their countries. Host governments always put their citizens first so we should unite and take care of the underprivileged people among us,” said Marodza.

Buhle Zuma, Witwatersrand University senior communications officer, said: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of donors and ordinary people whose contributions will change Triphin’s life, and the life of her family and loved ones.

“We strongly believe that education is a public good and that an investment in one person ultimately benefits our society and the economy.”

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