31 January 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
Kovsie Star of Stars winner believes that Geology rocks
Director of UFS Marketing, Nomonde Mbadi, with the winner of Kovsies Star of Stars for 2017, Palesa Modutwane.

Starting in 2016, UFS Marketing embarked on a project designed to help learners from less fortunate backgrounds to discover their potential. This competition, dubbed ‘Kovsies Star of Stars’, designed to help recognise excellence and reward disadvantaged learners from Quintile 1 to 3 (non-fee-paying) schools. The project’s motto is ‘Aspire to Inspire’, with the goal of discovering the potential hidden beneath the hard-packed surface of poverty.

Two of the five Free State districts were identified, namely Xhariep and Motheo, where the initiative is currently being conducted. In 2016, Grade 12 learners were invited to participate, with ‘Doctor’ Tshepo Thajane, from Lefikeng Secondary School in Botshabelo, being selected as the winner of the inaugural competition. He was pursuing a degree in Actuarial Sciences at the UFS, and towards the end of 2017, he was offered a scholarship to study abroad. This outstanding initiative by the UFS Marketing team was honoured with an award from the organisation Marketing, Advancement, and Communication in Education (MACE) in November 2017.

“We hope to give
… life and hope.”
—Nomonde Mbadi,
Director: UFS Marketing

Initiative seeks to ‘give life and hope’

Nomonde Mbadi, Director of UFS Marketing, whose brainchild the project is, says, “In spite of living in the depths of poverty, taking each day as it comes, these learners have more drive and passion than many others.”

Ms Mbadi and her team, including Chantel Koller, project lead on Star of Stars, aim to "give these learners life and hope" by means of the project, she says.

The winner of the Kovsie Star of Stars for 2017 is Palesa Modutwane from Ipetleng Secondary School in Petrusburg, Free State. She says of her achievement: “This means that all the hard work that I invested in my studies and in community projects is being recognised, and I feel like a new chapter of opportunities has been opened to me. It means that my background does not determine my future. Despite all of this, I still managed to conquer.”

Palesa will be studying Geology at the UFS. After all the hard work getting into her chosen programme, she is up for the challenges and is ready to represent women who were denied the opportunity in a previously male-dominated industry. She says, “I want to show that we have the same potential and wisdom as men.”

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