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14 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Albert van Biljon
Alison Botha
Over and above being a survivor, Alison Botha is an inspiration.

It was an ordinary December 1994 evening in Port Elizabeth. Alison Botha parked her car in front of her home. A man ambushed her at knife point. Minutes later, she was forced into the passenger seat and the perpetrator drove off, picking his friend up on their way to the coastal bushes of the city.
 
What was supposed to be an ordinary evening turned into a horrific experience which changed Botha’s life forever. She was raped, strangled, had her throat slit and her stomach cut open. Physicians called her survival a medical miracle. The true miracle though, is how she has chosen to deal with the experience. 

Botha overcame her fear of public speaking and has become an international motivational speaker who also authored a first-person account of her ordeal and recovery in 1998, titled I Have Life.

Aluta continua against gender-based violence

As part of our university’s advocacy against gender-based violence, the Human Resources’ Division for Organisational Development and Employee Wellness hosted Botha for a motivational talk on 5 June 2019 at the Bloemfontein Campus. In telling her story, Botha stated that she still receives healing.

While welcoming guests and the speaker, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector: Operations touched on Project Caring which is supported by the Rectorate. “We care for you and part of that caring agenda is gender-based violence. We encourage you to speak out about this issue, don’t remain silent, someone will listen,” he advised.

From victim to victor

Botha believes that if her story serves to help someone else avoid the same situation or perhaps even survive a similar trauma, then she has served her purpose. “I now believe that the evil is far outweighed by all the good that has come out of my choice to share my story,” she said.

Much of the reason behind her strength lies in what she terms her own ABC principle which speaks to attitude, belief and choice. “We are not always going to be in control of everything that happens to us. But we always control how we respond,” said Botha. 

The story of Botha’s survival, recovery and victory proves that the human spirit cannot be crushed. There is indeed life after a near-death tragedy.

News Archive

Distinguished Kovsie medical student bestowed with Abe Bailey Bursary
2013-10-14

14 October 2013

Residence head, SRC member, Golden Key International Honour Society member and now: Abe Bailey scholar as well. These are some of the achievements and leadership titles that Michael van Niekerk, a fourth-year MBChB student at our university, has under his belt.

One of 18 South Africans countrywide, Van Niekerk is to visit institutions in England and Scotland as a recipient of the prestigious Abe Bailey Travel Bursary for 2013. The scholarship acknowledges excellence in academics, leadership and community service and is awarded annually to third-year students and/or junior lecturers not older than 25 years of age.

The recipients of the 2013 Abe Bailey scholarship leave for Cape Town on 20 November 2013 to attend a two-day orientation process. Following this, they will then travel to London and Edinburgh, where they will visit universities, as well as places of interest such as London’s House of Lords.

Van Niekerk, who recently visited the USA as part of the Golden Key International Honour Society’s International Scholar Laureate programme, says it is an incredible honour to be this year’s Abe Bailey recipient for the UFS. "I am very blessed to not only excel in the medical field, but also in leadership and other aspects and I believe that this is absolutely grace from Above. I believe that this is an opportunity and a step to a better future. I don’t believe in being average and believe that this is an opportunity to prove myself and achieve more."

This Kovsie student says he has great plans for the future. "If it is God’s will, I would very much like to specialise in neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery or trauma surgery. I would like to be part of the Rhodes Scholarship and would strive to reach it."

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