FOCUS De Beers Group donates laptops to the University of Venda Donation is part of building skills partnerships with local communities. De Beers Group has donated 270 laptop computers to the University of Venda (UNIVEN) for distribution to its postgraduate students. The donation comes at a time when the need for computers has increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent national lockdown which has forced UNIVEN students to find ways to continue with their research remotely. Mpumi Zikalala, Managing Director of De Beers Group Managed Operations, said during the handover that the intervention emphasises the need to continuously develop and support the capability within De Beers’ host communities. “As De Beers, we recognise the importance of working in collaboration with our communities. We continue to play a meaningful role in community development, guided by not only our Purpose – which is to Make Life Brilliant – but also our values and our Building Forever sustainability framework, through which we are committed to supporting a lasting positive impact that will endure well beyond the end of life of our mines. We have made great efforts in establishing skills partnerships in our host communities and investing in innovation and technology, to afford our children and young people the opportunity to live up to their full potential,” she said. Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, who received the donation, expressed his gratitude, noting that a laptop is a critical tool in engaging in online learning, and would make a significant difference for many students. “We are thrilled to receive this support, as De Beers Group partners with UNIVEN in the University’s quest to implement effective multimodal remote teaching and learning for its students,” he said. Dr Nthambeleni further indicated that, through the donation, the university would be able to Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, accepts the donation from Mpumi Zikalala, Managing Director of De Beers Group Managed Operations. accomplish its goal and continue working towards fulfilling its objective of providing a reasonable level of academic support to all students, as they continue with their academic activities during the lockdown period. “This partnership with De Beers Group has come at the right time as we are implementing our new Strategic Plan and we look forward to long-term mutual beneficial successful partnership with the De Beers Group,” he said. In accepting the donation on behalf of the university’s students, Dzivhuluwani Mugari, Chairperson of Postgraduate Committee, said that the laptops would prove an invaluable resource for many students at the University. “I am privileged to be part of this handover. It is the greatest achievement as the Postgraduate Student Committee Chairperson and to UNIVEN postgraduate students. I give special thanks to De Beers Group and our Vice-Chancellor for the partnership. This innovation is going to improve University research output and encourage postgraduate students to do exceptionally well in their studies,” he said. ■ LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2021/22 62
FOCUS Investing in future talent Bursars share their educational journeys. While Venetia Mine undertakes a range of social investment initiatives in various areas, education remains a key focus area. As part of the initiative to support and encourage tertiary education, work experience opportunities are offered to bursars and to other selected undergraduates whose studies are directly relevant to the mine’s business. Two promising young students, Oswell Masindi and Asivhanga Ramurafhi, relate their journeys towards educational success, and how Venetia Mine is helping them navigate through common barriers to graduation, offering support in the areas most needed to ensure they move on to a meaningful career. OSWELL MASINDI Where are you from? I was born and bred in Musina. What is your field of study? Following the completion of my BEngTech degree in Mechanical Engineering in December 2020 at the University of Johannesburg, I have now enrolled for an honours degree. How has the bursary helped you? Many students graduate from university with enormous student debt or limit their education in an attempt to control costs. As a De Beers bursar, I focused primarily on my career instead of thinking about debt and what my next meal would be. The De Beers bursary has provided me with relevant workplace exposure through annual vacation work and ensures that I get valuable engineering development and support. defines a man, but hard work, perseverance and self-discipline does. ASIVHANGA RAMURAFHI Where are you from? I am from Makhuvha village in Venda. What is your field of study? I am currently doing my fourth year of BEng Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Johannesburg. How has the bursary helped you? I am honoured and very proud to be sponsored by mining giant, De Beers Group. It has always been my dream to become an electrical engineer. I have completed my N2-N6 electrical engineering and graduated as top student from Vhembe TVET College. After completing the N courses, I needed to further my studies through university and applied at UJ in 2016. I was accepted but I could not register due to financial constraints. In October 2017 I saw a bursary advertisement and I applied. I can proudly say I am well taken care of by this De Beers bursary, which is making my dream of becoming an electrical engineer come true. What words of encouragement would you like to share? Never give up on your dreams; keep on knocking, the door to your success will open one day. You might have previously applied for this bursary and you did not qualify, but do not throw in the towel. ■ What words of encouragement would you like to share? Always make use of all the opportunities that may come your way and strive for excellence in everything you do. I believe that poverty never 63 LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2021/22
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operate, and by making life better
PARTNER WITH STANDARD BANK FOR FRAN
It’s official. We’re honoured.
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INTERVIEW Credit: RAL by the World