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02 February 2024 | Story Anthony Mthembu | Photo SUPPLIED
Skhumbuzo Maseko
Skhumbuzo Maseko, recipient of the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT) scholarship.

Skhumbuzo Maseko, a student at the University of the Free State (UFS), has been granted a prestigious Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT) scholarship to pursue a Master of Social Science in Counseling Psychology. Maseko, informed of his successful application in December 2023, stands among 30 scholarship recipients, and viewed this opportunity as a beacon of hope. “I felt deeply honoured and privileged to receive this scholarship. Having completed my Honours degree without funding, I intimately understand the challenges many postgraduate students in South Africa face when embarking on their studies,’’ expressed Maseko. 

Maseko’s winning application

Initially intending to explore “factors that contribute to the mental well-being and wellness of postgraduate students,” Maseko adjusted his research focus to “Scoping the South African research on attachment: what do we know and what not?” Reflecting on his experiences during his Honours studies, he elaborated, “I aimed to illuminate both positive and negative influences on the mental well-being of postgraduate students.”  His current research focuses on attachment styles among South African children compared to those in other regions, with an emphasis on cultural influences. “I seek to identify gaps in attachment research within the South African context and explore potential cultural impacts,” he explained. 

Maseko’s near-future plans 

Securing funding from such a reputable organisation marks a significant achievement for Maseko, yet he maintains several aspirations. He aims to successfully complete his studies and attain his Masters qualification while preparing for and passing his Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) board exams to register as a psychologist. Despite altering his research focus, Maseko remains dedicated to mental health, particularly among adolescents and young adults. “My passion lies in working with these groups, conducting research to identify prevalent mental health issues and proposing viable solutions,” he affirmed. 

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