Allan Gray Orbis scholarship awarded to Rofhiwa Mukhondo

March 20, 2017 | Campus | Author: Bev Johnson & Lethabo-Thabo Royds

Congratulations to Rofhiwa Mukhondo, Matric Class of 2016, who has been awarded an Allan Gray Orbis bursary for her tertiary studies in 2017. Rofhiwa has been accepted at UCT to study towards a BCom Accounting.

Rofhiwa joined St Stithians Girls’ College in 2014 in Grade 10. She was the first recipient of the Thandulwazi Galactic Unite-Nash academic scholarship. During this time, Rofhiwa was also mentored by US-based Maja Muric and Beth Moses, of Virgin/Galactic Unite. Beth trains astronauts involved in the space programme being developed by Virgin Galactic.

During the three years she spent at the College, Rofhiwa was involved in the work of the Transformation Committee on campus; participated in a range of cultural activities, including the Choir and Marimba Band; and assisted as a Peer Tutor at the Thandulwazi Saturday School, where she provided academic assistance to Grade 10 beneficiaries in Maths, English and Accounting.

Rofhiwa successfully passed her Matric exams in December 2016, with Level 7 (above 80%) in: English, Life Sciences (Biology) and Zulu; and Level 6 (above 70%) in her other subjects (Maths, Physical Science, Accounting and LO). She also did an additional 8th subject (AP English), which she passed.

We caught up with Rofhiwa to see how she is finding Cape Town, what changes she sees between school and university, and her plans for the future. Below is what she had to say.

Question: How have your first few weeks in Cape Town been?

Answer: The first few weeks in Cape Town have been incredible. I love how the city is more calm and dressed by nature in comparison to Johannesburg. I also had the opportunity to be a tourist in my own country during orientation week and it was just amazing! It's almost spiritual in a sense. Settling in to residence has been the easiest thing; everyone is friendly and ready to help which just makes you feel welcome and at home. UCT in itself has made tremendous efforts to welcome all the first years and I feel  very honoured and privileged to attend such a beautiful and established university. I am very optimistic about the next few years here.

Question: What has been the biggest change from high school to university?

Answer: Unfortunately my answers will sound a bit generic here but only because what others have said before me is true. University covers a lot of content at a very fast pace and a lot of the work and learning is my own responsibility as a learner. Many of the courses and materials are online and I have to take the initiative to check up on everything. I guess, responsibility is a big part of the independence package. Another difference is the people: high schools are much smaller in comparison to universities so the pool of people you interact with in high school is not as diverse. I've met many international students and South African students who have really opened up my perspective of the world. There is so much diversity here and it is absolutely refreshing. I feel like a new born baby because ever since I arrived at the university I've been looking at the world with fresh eyes in awe and wonder. Although the change is overwhelming at times, it is certainly a challenge and an opportunity for growth and self development.

Rofhiwa's Matric class

Question: Tell us about Allan Gray Orbis and how they will be supporting your studies

Answer: The Allan Gray Fellowship is an outstanding opportunity that I would urge every student to pursue. They cover tuition, books and a monthly stipend but the greatest gift they have is the ongoing programme that nurtures my personal and entrepreneurial development. They have designed the scholarship in such a way that by the end of my tertiary career I will truly be a high impact individual. They are extremely involved and provide wonderful support and the best thing about this scholarship is the fact that I get to choose how I give back once I am established. I do not have to work for them but they encourage a culture of "paying it forward" which is something I fully support. As an individual who has been awarded so many opportunities I believe I have the responsibility of giving back and creating new and better opportunities for those to follow.

Question: What do you hope to do with a BCom in Accounting?

Answer: Once I have my degree and I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, I would like to spend a few years in the industry and take the opportunity to get to understand how different business work and what the successful ones are doing right. A long term goal of mine is to also pursue an MBA degree and eventually use all that knowledge to enter the business consultation and marketing industry. I really hope to empower individuals and businesses alike whether they are starting up or well-established. More than anything, I love to give value to things and I think this will be a great path in doing so.

Question: And finally, is there anything you'd like to add?

Answer: All I can say is that the world is waiting to be discovered and to be appreciated. We all just need to give ourselves the time to experience life. To see everything, good or bad, as a chance to learn and grow. I am so grateful for every opportunity I've had and the support from my family, Allan Gray, Virgin Galactic, and the Saints community. [This support] is ultimately what keeps me going. When people believe in you as much as they believe in me you are bound to believe in yourself and that is all it takes to survive.

We are so proud of Rofhiwa and we wish her every future success as she continues this new chapter of her life in Cape Town.