Sumbandila Full Scholarship: 2011-2015
Tertiary: To start 2015 (Applying for Genetics)

Phuluso 1 (use top profile)The Sumbandila team have had the privilege of nurturing Phuluso Mawela over the past five years. Currently in his final year writing the AS Level exams, Phuluso has grown into a confident yet humble leader who cares deeply about the Sumbandila family and more importantly his own family at home.

When you are in the village you don’t actually see much of the world or see what you are missing out on. When I was awarded the Sumbandila Scholarship I realized that I can actually do what I want to do not just follow what the people around me are doing” says Phuluso.

His distinctively diverse interests range from acting and guitar playing to creative writing and sports. He discovered a deep passion for basketball and took the initiative to start a basketball team at Ridgeway College which has grown to a competitive level in the Limpopo league.

Leigh Bristow says that Phuluso is a wonderful example of a committed Sumbandila scholar, not only because he is in leadership, participates enthusiastically in sport and performs well academically, but mostly because he is proud of where he comes from, he is proud of his mother and all that she has done for him, and he is proud to be part of Sumbandila. We are very proud of him”.

Phuluso’s self-belief comes from his mother, who made many sacrifices to get him through primary school. They both endured the trauma of losing Phuluso’s father, living with an abusive criminal uncle and being ostracised by their community.

Because of my uncle I’ve really seen what poverty, drugs and a life of crime can do to you. So this has also helped and motivated me to actually do better, live better in a different way” says Phuluso.

Phuluso shared his story in a creative writing exercise which earned him much admiration and praise. Mr. Bart Fuijkschot of the August Schippers Foundation in the Netherlands, a major sponsor of Sumbandila, was at a Sumbandila dinner when Phuluso first read his story. Bart’s enthusiasm and praise motivated Phuluso to enter the story into a national publication.

With the help of Mr. Mike Linden, the story was entered and eventually chosen for publication in the South African Council for English Education’s annual English Alive publication. Thrilled, Phuluso presented the story again at his school graduation ceremony and made special mention of his mother sitting in the audience.

Next year Phuluso will embark on a new chapter at the University of Pretoria where he hopes to nurture his love of nature and conservation by studying Genetics. Of course playing basketball is also high on his agenda.

Phuluso is immensely grateful for the life exposure that Sumbandila has given him, enabling him to harness his potential for the world and one day help give the same opportunity to other children just like him.