The initiative aims to support financially needy students at universities, thereby contributing to the development of higher education graduates who are confident and proud of their African identity and heritage, academically and socially adept, and equipped with the skills and competencies enabling them to become professionals in their fields. The bursaries cover the expenses of tuition fees, textbooks, residence or accredited accommodation costs, meals and a transport allowance for those students living at home. The Thebe Foundation provides support services at all stages of this programme, to ensure that all recipients are supported in their academic efforts and successfully graduate at the end of their studies.
The ultimate objective of the scholarship is to ensure that the beneficiaries become ambassadors of the programme, remain solidly connected to their communities and contribute to the further advancement of wider society.
Since inception, the Thebe Foundation Trust has invested R5.5m bursaries for deserving students from poor families. A total of 34 bursaries have been awarded to students at the University of Mpumalanga, Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape, UCT and Wits, in areas as diverse as quantity surveying, education, the sciences, agriculture, conservation and IT.
The scholarship programme is funded through the annual BBBEE Skills Development budget of the Thebe Foundation. This is a commitment that is reviewed annually, based on performance and availability of resources. The Thebe Foundation administers the scholarship fund under the guidance of a scholarship committee which reports to the trustees.
The programme’s scholarship committee is made up of Mokgethi Tshabalala (Chairman and GM of Agroprocessing), Hlobisile Mncwango (Senior Group Accountant), Nelisawa Booi (Executive Manager: People, Brand and Transformation), Lehlohonolo Chabeli (CEO Thebe Foundation Trust), Sizwe Mncwango (CEO Thebe Investment Corporation), Busi Mabuza (daughter of E.J Mabuza) and Joel Dikgole (consultant of Thebe Foundation Trust). The committee meets quarterly, a week before the Thebe Foundation Trust board meeting, and is mandated to oversee the management of the Scholarship fund, and develop and review all policies regarding its administration and awarding of bursaries and scholarships.