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Achievements Acknowledged At Rhodes University

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A celebratory dinner was recently held to acknowledge the achievements and financial donors of Nine Tenths, a successful mentoring programme which forms part of Rhodes University’s Community Engagement (RUCE) initiatives. The dinner was attended by several high-level individuals, including the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Professor Sizwe Mabizela, mentors, mentees, and donors who had provided critical support.

Launched in 2016, Nine Tenths is a focused initiative where student volunteers serve as mentors for local learners, guiding them through nine organised sessions to prepare them to succeed. The programme is designed to support students as they navigate the challenges of high school, including academic pressures, social issues, and college preparation. Mentors are carefully selected for their experience, skills, and commitment to helping young people succeed. RUCE, Makana high schools, and GADRA Education are all involved in its management.

Mentoring initiatives for high school children have become increasingly popular in recent years, as schools and communities recognise the value of providing young people with positive role models who can help guide them through the challenges of adolescence. These initiatives can take many forms, from one-on-one mentoring relationships to group programmes that focus on specific topics or interests. Regardless of the format, the goal of these initiatives is to provide students with the support and guidance they need to succeed academically and personally.

The event was held in a beautifully decorated hall, with elegant table settings and festive decorations creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Once everyone had taken their seats, the evening’s host, the SRC 2023 Community Engagement Councillor, Lihle Manene began with a heartfelt tribute to the mentees as well as the mentors and their work. This was followed by a speech from Professor Mabizela, who expressed his gratitude for the programme’s donors and shared stories about how the mentorship programme originated and the impact it has had on the education system in Makhanda.

“I am excited to let you know that tonight’s event includes our two major benefactors. The CEO of the Energy Mobility Education Trust, Vuyo Mwase, as well as the Programme Manager, Ntando Nodada, have facilitated donations of R1.79 million to us over the last three years. We have also received R6.1 million over the last three years from Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation, who is tonight represented by Head of Programmes and Operations, Phumla Hobe-Yabo,” announced Professor Mabizela.

Asemahle James, who completed her Matric at Khutliso Daniels Secondary School last year, took the podium to share her “wonderful experience with the programme” and expressed how having a trusted adult to confide in can be incredibly helpful for students as they navigate the challenges of adolescence.

“My mentor encouraged me to be the best version of myself,” she said. Asemahle is currently doing her bridging year at Rhodes University for a Bachelor of Science.

As the event drew to a close, Director of RUCE, Diana Hornby, gave a heartfelt speech, expressing her gratitude to all those who had supported them along the way. She also stated that their major focus for the year 2022 was to make sure that students from the no-fee paying schools could enroll in universities.

Hornby concluded: “Our programmes make targeted interventions that do not get universities to lower their requirements, but instead work with schools to ensure that they raise the bar in terms of their teaching and learning.”