#FeesMustFall: I need around R600/month, but it is a daily struggle

2015-10-22 19:15
Nyameka Baleni

Nyameka Baleni

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Durban - Eastern Cape student Nyameka Baleni has been studying at the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in Mthatha for the past three years. Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, the 25-year-old comes from a family of eight that currently has no bread winner.

However, her dreams of becoming a lawyer may soon be dashed after she was told by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS ) that there were insufficient funds for her to continue her studies.

"What I don't understand about this fund is that the criteria keep changing. This is my only form of income for my education."

Baleni described how she and her family found her academic requirements difficult to cope with.

"Moving here was not an easy thing to do. A lot of the people here call me derogatory names because I am not from here.

"Financially it has been tough. I am the only one in my family attending college. Most of my siblings are younger and in school.

"I don't even phone home and ask for money because I know they barely have enough for themselves. I don't see my family and I miss them a lot. People don't understand what this protest action means to us.

"We have to resort to borrowing from neighbours and from relatives."

Baleni said her first year cost her R23 000, and fees continually increased.

"It costs me so much just to maintain a life here also. There are so many additional costs like food, printing and text books. I need around R600 per month, but it is a constant daily struggle."

When asked how she coped, Baleni said she largely relied on the generosity of others.

"Sometimes people at campus assist me and other times we plead with our neighbours back home. I am trying really hard to get a job, but I also have to work this around my studies.

"If I ever finish campus, I am going to have to support my family and try to pay everyone back."

Read more on:    walter sisulu university  |  east london  |  university fees

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