By Valerie Mncube (1 min read)
It is amazing how a simple text message can send chills down one’s spine. This afternoon, 20th March 2018, as I sat in the cool, airconditioned D Lab 108 venue in UJ’s APK campus, I received an SMS from NSFAS informing me of how I have to appeal before the 31st of March.
I was perplexed as my application status still says, “Verifying household income”. I still do not know how I feel: should I cry or let it go? This is a reoccurring question in my inquisitive mind. As much as this is the reality for many students, one never understands it until it hits home.
The effects are deeper than my fees being paid. If I do not find a way to pay my fees, it could be the end of my journalism career before it even begins. I will be judged as the girl who dropped out of university because ‘it was too hot to handle’ when in reality dropping out was the only way to salvage the little dignity I’m left with.
It is said, “To educate a woman is to educate a nation,” but why then should NSFAS stand in the way of a young African woman trying to better her life so as to better the lives of others?
I do not understand why I have to appeal; it only makes sense that if I was meant to be funded it would have happened first time around. My mind tells me to appeal but my heart tells me not to. After all, once bitten twice shy.
Many apply but only a few are chosen. I still wonder what sets the few apart from the rest of us. Are our problems less of a priority than theirs? As much as I ponder this over and over again, the only answer I can come up with is that students are equal, but some are more equal than others. TOJ
Writing by Valerie Mncube; Editing by Gaby Ndongo.