Hi! I'm Siphephelo (Sphe) Gcabashe. I'm from Amanzimtoti, about 20km south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I've been accepted to study a Master's in Information Systems Management at Stockholm University in Sweden, one of the top 200 universities in the world.
This is an incredible opportunity, one that I've put in a great deal of effort, time, sacrifices and money into.
Pursuing this opportunity would bring me closer to my dream: Using technology and the skills I've been blessed with to help solve problems faced by our people, and engage with like-minded entities in doing so.
I've had an interest in helping those around me for a large part of my life now. In high school, I was a career monitor, which meant I worked alongside the school counselor to provide career guidance and information to other learners, and a bit of counselling if need be. I was also a Scout, which instilled values of community and brotherhood in me. In university, I would help explain concepts learnt in class to my peers, oftentimes improving their marks, which I thought was pretty cool.
Moving through my professional career, as great as it was that I was developing my skills and learning more about my field, I felt that there was something missing; an itch that I just couldn't scratch. I wanted to do more, to use my God-given talents to solve problems in my community and country. This seed was planted in me after attending an entrepreneurial workshop on campus in 2014 and has been growing, much like the Chicken Licken ad where the guy has an orange monkey growing on his shoulder - like that monkey, it's reaching a point where I'm struggling to deny it.
The journey to Sweden started around October last year, with me receiving info on Master's study opportunities in Sweden. I currently hold a BTech in Information Technology from the Durban University of Technology, and I thought "how crazy would it be if a traditional university, on the other side of the world, in one of the largest technological hubs, were to accept me?" Then they did! :)
Why Sweden? Well, Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley as far as technology start-ups are concerned. Apart from receiving a world-class education, it would be extremely beneficial to be immersed within this environment, to absorb whatever I can from it, and take this with me when I return home. As you may know, South Africa tends to be a bit behind the curve as far as technological developments are concerned. I wish to use the experience and knowledge I gain in Sweden, combine it with my experience in Software Development, and return to South Africa to work for, and learn from, a company that is involved in developing technological solutions for our country and our continent, with a view to starting my own in the future. I would also like to get involved with NGOs such as Open Data Durban and organisations such as The Durban Hub, with the intent of working on tech projects that address problems within my community, encouraging a culture of creativity and ingenuity in Durban and the country as a whole, and sharing this knowledge and energy with youth from underprivileged communities. My experience with my classmates in varsity has lead me to believe that there is a wealth of undiscovered talent in these communities, that just needs the right kind of input and exposure in order to enrich the economy of our country.
If there's one reason for me to do this, it's to make my mom proud, having raised me by herself, often working two jobs, and making sacrifices of her own for me to be in the position I am in today (yes, I am a momma's boy!).
There's a small problem, though. In order for all this to happen, for me to do great things for my country and my continent, I'm going to need help. YOUR help. I need to pay 67500SEK (R96275,54 at the time of creating this profile) to the university as the first instalment towards my studies, and this amount needs to be paid by the 15th of May. I won't be able to apply for a Swedish Residence Permit, which is 1500SEK (R1426,30 at the time of creating this profile) until I have paid this instalment; missing the deadline would mean missing a chance to realise my dream. I've applied for a scholarship through Stockholm University, and as of present (14 April 2018) I am awaiting feedback. The hunt still continues in this regard, but I'm obviously fighting against time.
I would highly appreciate any and all contributions you can make towards my campaign, be it financial, or through spreading the word. Your contribution won't go unnoticed as I am working on a rewards system (details below.) If you'd prefer to remain anonymous, that's also fine - your contribution is still very valuable to me!
Thank you for joining me on this journey, for helping me inspire others coming up behind me, and being part of a culture of knowledge-sharing and Ubuntu in South Africa.
Bye for now :)