Tertiary debt is something most South African students are very familiar with and while most struggle to find employment to settle their debts, others fall into a deep depression with no hope of getting that burden off their shoulders.
Luckily for 22-year-old student Kamva Ntutuka, who is currently pursuing a BSc mathematical statistics degree at the University of Pretoria, his friends raised funds to help pay off some of his student R104 000 debt.
This is his story.
“I found myself in a situation where I was financially excluded. I owed my university about R104 000. So, I started a BackaBuddy account where people could donate money towards my fees. I put this account as my pinned tweet on Twitter and asked people to help.
“Before I came to Tuks I spent three years at Wits but, unfortunately, during my third year my dad passed on and his death affected my marks so I had to drop out. There were people I made friends with during those three years and while they graduated and I didn’t, we kept in touch. Life went on and they got jobs and everything. I then had to go back to school and registered at Tuks.
“I told them my situation and they’d help wherever they could. So one day during the holidays when I was back home in the rurals (Lusikisiki, in the Eastern Cape), one of them would let something slip and say things like, ‘Nah, bra, there’s no way you’re not going back to school’ but I didn’t think anything of it.
“I ended up making a deal with the university to try to register although I still had debt and they agreed. I then came back to Pretoria and on Monday, when I was chilling and having breakfast, I get a text from one of the gents and he tells me how they’ve decided as friends to try to see what they could do with my fees. So it turns out that one of my friends who had been helping me out throughout the holidays and had access to my student number, references and all that, had created a WhatsApp group where they collected as many of my friends they knew of. They managed to get 17 of my friends (them included) and raised a total of about R10 000, which they deposited into my fees account to help me settle my debt. This was very thoughtful and nice of them.
“They had started this secret WhatsApp group around Christmas and only added me to it on Monday. I’m one of those people who has a lot of different friendship groups but I’ve always made sure they’re all acquainted with one another. I’m so grateful to my friends for their gesture and also to the people who have donated a total of R13 977,40 to my BackaBuddy account. I have hope to one day fully settle my student debt.
“The aim is to get my degree and major in financial engineering in my final year.”