A Much-Needed Scholarship Is Granted

Compliments of Monash University Fund for Education

Vusi studying at his dorm room desk

My plans and appointments for 2009 have been developing nicely. I've been imagining doing so much this year with my various missions and ministries. I've even begun to write an autobiography that I hope to distribute primarily to high school classes.

However, during and after my travels to Northern Ireland last year, I got a very strong sense of urgency in my heart to do something besides missions, ministries, and writing. I wasn't sure what I'd be doing but, being a person who believes in God's purpose for his life, I asked my Creator what plans He had for my life this year.

The idea of studying full time came to mind. Initially, I was against full-time studies because "I'm a man of action" and full-time studies would be a waist of time. People will continue to die while I sit at a table in some university. Indeed, I wrestled with this notion and prayed along these lines, “If it's your will, God, I'll become a full-time university student so long as I can get the requisite funding."

Moments after completing my prayer, I received a surprise email message from my friend, Olivia Brian, from Oaktree Foundation (a not-for-profit organisation that provides educational assistance for the needy). She attached scholarship forms, along with a directive that I identify a number of relevant people in the community who might also wish to apply for a university scholarship.

Monash South Africa's campus facadeAfter distributing the forms to appropriate people in my community, I completed and submitted my university application form for Monash South Africa, a campus of Monash University Australia. Monash is an Australian university having a top-50-in-the-world ranking, with another campus in Malaysia and three in Australia.

Within the week, Craig Rowe, the university's community engagement manager, called me to announce wonderful news. I'd been offered a full scholarship (covering accommodations, meals, books and supplies, school fees, and more). Indeed, my prayers had been fully answered. (“Thank you, God!”)

Putting my missions projects in place before going to university certainly was a struggle. I was actively involved in ongoing programmes with Light Providers Youth Club, as well as Vuk’ Africa Tours & Training and the Alternative Sentencing Programme. Thankfully, I was able to put things in good order. Responsibilities were properly delegated to many qualified individuals: Siyanda Chonco accepted the responsibility to run Light Providers; a friend of mine, Katie Blundy, from Australia, assumed the responsibilities of operations manager of Vuk’ Africa's engagements; and Nontobeko is handling the Alternative Sentencing Programme's responsibilities handily. Today, these three primary initiatives are fully active and doing exceptionally well.

As I write, I'm now enrolled and studying hard at Monash South Africa, thanks to MUFESA. That's me in the upper-right-hand photo, sitting at desk in my dormitory. Pursuing my BA degree, my majors are in criminology and criminal justice, while taking a double major in international studies (politics). I love the courses but each is very challenging. It's quite a leap for me now that I'm 30 years old and no longer working on community mission projects. Instead, I'm now studying, studying, and studying.

What's all the more difficult is the high level of academic writing that I must learn and implement into my daily routine. Writing has never been a strong point for me — but that's about to change.

I'm convinced that I'm in the right place today and that my educational endeavors will provide me with a meaningful pathway to future involvement in national government. Gaining that knowledge and experience, I believe I'll effectively change my nation of South Africa politically. Consequently, I'm developing a very strong interest in South African politics, which, as I see it, suffers from a leadership vacuum. With God's help and direction, I'll have a life-changing effect on my country and its people.

Footnote: In addition to appreciating God’s help with my decision to become a full-time university student, I must acknowledge the helpful guidance I received from key individuals in my life, made up of pastors, mentors, church elders, and friends. Sizwe Mthembu, Peter Dent, Joe White, and Msizi Gumede were extremely helpful and supportive. Thank you, my friends.