I am Mandla Shabangu, an Internal Auditing and Taxation graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand with an average of 65%. I am currently seeking to register for a Postgraduate Diploma in Taxation but due to my historical debt, I won’t be able to achieve this and be able to grant my mom the opportunity of seeing me walk through the stage of the Great hall in my graduation gown as that has always been her dream.
I am zealous, I possess a can-do attitude and I am passionate about education. I strongly believe one can be taught skill but attitude and a work-ethic are somethings you cannot teach. With these in my possession, I see myself as a Tax specialist in the financial sector in the next coming years. With huge tax projections proposed by both government and the private sector I would love to apply and learn the practical skills of tax.
Having matriculated in the top 10 in my district (Gauteng West) in 2014, I arrived at Wits with enthusiasm to not only pass well but to expose myself to the many societies, opportunities and events in Johannesburg. The road hasn't been easy nor would I have wanted it to be. There have been tears, sweat and many sleepless nights. Today I have a degree from the best institution of higher learning in Africa and I cannot put a price tag on my varsity experience. The ability to understand, to know and therefore do better not just in academics but in the overall community is what I am most proud of. With all that I have learnt I have been part of the Lusikisiki Youth foundation at Wits, this organisation helps learners who were just like me once with acclimatizing to the varsity culture and the independent way of life. We advise students on how to re-apply, change courses and basically help them find their feet in their first year. It is remarkable how callous one is but when it starts clicking you find beautiful personalities beneath all that fear.
Finances has been an issue I have had since my initial registration. This with my increased workload and participation in many leadership societies at university. I would like to put an end to my concentration withdrawing from my studies and depression originating from my financial woes that persist daily, monthly and annually as Wits modules increase in their demands for my attention. I wish for a change to purely focus on my studies without the burden of knowing I am owing hundreds of thousands in tuition fees.
I was a NSFAS beneficiary in 2019 and I did pass the year but my funding was declined a day before the appeals close due to the N+3 rule that was set by NSFAS. I couldn’t appeal the decision as I was attending a funeral back home as a result I couldn’t manage to put in my appeal. I have tried my level best to reach to NSFAS and the Wits Financial Aid office to see if there is no way that they can help me. I have reached out to Feenix and Go Fund Me but not in has came through for me in a form of funding. I have applied for various bursaries for 2021 and I am hoping something will come through before the registration deadline. Unfortunately NSFAS does not fund my post graduate studies and my mom cannot afford my fees as she is currently unemployed and a SASSA grant beneficiary.
In me you are funding a mentor, a first year tutor, an academic with an excellent high school and varsity record but more than anything by funding me you are renewing years of yearning for a financial freedom and an opportunity of being debt free graduate which so many of us always hoped we will be. You will be a realizing a young man’s dream and giving a South African family a chance to finally celebrate. My dream one day is to be at the other end of stories like mine and change people’s lives. I am really desperate please help me.