#FeesMustFall: My parents sold a cow to send me to varsity

2015-10-22 12:10
Banele Mathenjwa's parents had to sell a cow to raise money for registration. He is doing his first year in law at UKZN. (Photo via Facebook)

Banele Mathenjwa's parents had to sell a cow to raise money for registration. He is doing his first year in law at UKZN. (Photo via Facebook)

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Durban – Banele Mathenjwa's parents had to sell one of their most prized possession to send him to university.

The first year student from a small village called Manyiseni in Ngwavuma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, said his father had to sell a cow to raise R6 000 for him to register for his law degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  

"I am one of 12 children. My mother is part of an Expanded Public Works Programme that cleans the roads in the area and my father works in a shopping complex in Ngwavuma," the 18-year-old said.

When he was accepted to study law he was excited because he knew this was his ticket to a better life for his family. But, he said, he was crushed when he found out that he had to raise R6 500 for registration.

"It was R2 750 for tuition, another R2 750 for residence and I had paid a R500 acceptance fee. We have livestock at home so my parents had to sell one cow to raise the money.

"The entire course costs R65 000 and I haven’t paid anything else since that R6 000."

Mathenjwa said he applied for funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme but couldn't secure any for this year.

"It was tough when I arrived because I realised that I needed money for food, books and transport. I don't own a single book for my course because they are ridiculously expensive."

Fortunately his parents sent him money for food.  

“They send me R500 for food for the month but it depends on the financial situation back home.”

He said because he comes from a rural area, he is not fazed by not having any money for entertainment.

"That was not part of my upbringing so I don't really care about entertainment."

He said he supports the Fees Must Fall campaign because most students cannot afford university fees.

"Education should be a right and not a commodity. At the moment the education system is anti-poor and the unfortunate thing is most black people are born into poverty because of apartheid."

He said the student protest was the tip of the iceberg.

"If government does not listen, this could lead to a bigger social uprising. We are not the ones that cannot afford it, it is our parents. We are fighting this battle on behalf of our parents."

He said he knew that his parents sent him to university to study and not to protest.

"They want me to do better than they did. But when they see our faces on TV they get embarrassed and disappointed because that is not what they sent us to do.

"Parents should not get embarrassed because we are doing this for them, us and the future generation," Mathenjwa said.

Read more on:    university fees

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