Alumni

Shaping futures on the fairways

A Unisa Golf Day was held on 26 July 2019 at the scenic Mount Edgecombe Country Club, neatly tucked away in the rolling hills of the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The university has been organising the Shaping Futures Golf Challenges, hosted by Unisa’s North Eastern, KZN, Western Cape and Gauteng regional offices, since 2013. This year’s tournament was dubbed the Unisa KwaZulu-Natal Region Shaping Futures Golf Challenge.

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Brian Dlamini (KZN Acting Regional Director), Glen Mthimkhulu (2019 winner), Frankie Mojapelo (DIA) and Lynette van Niekerk (DIA)

This year’s tournament focused on appealing to stakeholders to join hands with the university in support of student funding. The Department of Institutional Advancement (DIA) and the KZN region invited golfers and their companies to take part in this event as a way of supporting students who do not qualify for fee-free higher education. The university has many students who fall outside the current threshold for fee-free higher education. These students are commonly known as the missing middle. It is important that the university and the public at large assist needy and deserving students where possible. Companies and individual golfers were asked to contribute towards providing additional learning resources by sponsoring the tournament in one form or another.

Apart from the head office region of Gauteng, the KZN region is the largest region of the university. In 2018, the KZN region had approximately 80 000 students who needed funds to give them access to higher education and to ensure their success. Students who need financial support are scattered across the region, and its satellite offices in the province have limited resources such as laptops, access to Wi-Fi, internet connectivity and study materials. The aim of the tournament was to raise funds to support students and to create positive student experiences. With the appropriate support, the throughput and completion rates of students could increase significantly, thus creating opportunities for funding from other sources.

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One of the teams getting into the swing of things

Golfers and spectators alike had a fun-filled day on the golf course, which has a rich history dating back to 1935 when the original course opened. The golf club has since been transformed into an eco-sensitive premium golf estate. The tournament was well attended by more than 80 golfers from all over KZN, representing different companies and sectors. The prizegiving dinner was an opportune moment for the attendees to exchange ideas and business cards over a scrumptious meal at a golf course once graced by great golfers such as Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone and Nicky Price, to mention but a few.

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Khanya Mahlare, Executive Director: DIA

Addressing the prizegiving ceremony, Khanya Mahlare, Executive Director: DIA made a passionate and emotional plea to the audience to support Unisa’s students by opening their doors for experiential training and job opportunities and by opening their hearts and wallets in order to assist students financially.

Out of about 100 golfers who took part in the tournament this year, the respective champions of 2017 and 2018, Musa Mzolo and Victor Phungula, were in pursuit of the 2019 crown again. However, this time around the trophy for the overall winner of the tournament went to Glen Mthimkhulu.

Brian Dlamini, Acting Regional Director: KZN, described the event as an important sporting and fundraising assembly not to be missed in future as it provides the ideal setting for participants to build relationships and to make friends on and off the golf course. He emphasised that the KZN region, which is the biggest region of the university, has more students than the residential universities in the province put together and therefore requires more support for its diverse students, who are located in both urban and deep rural areas.

* By Siyabonga Seme, Manager: Communications, KZN Region

Publish date: 2019/08/06