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Meet Our Alumnae - a snapshot in February 2021

Boitumelo Langa.jpeg

"Some days in the outside world are better than others but with the help of the RF program, I have learnt not to fear any day whatsoever. This bravery fuels me towards creating a better looking world and a better functioning world."

Boitumelo is studying

Architecture at UCT.


Boitumelo Langa, RF 2015.

Read more from Jan 20 and Feb 21

Sherry Jiang.jpeg

"How am I getting on in the outside world? It's a matter of personal growth. The outside world has the iridescent charm of freedom. Freedom to make my own choices, which can also be a barrier to my growth. I'm simply trying to be cautious and not be blinded by this freedom."


Sherry is in her second year of a degree  in Biological Science at

De Anza College in California.


Sherry Jiang, RF 2014.

Read more from Nov 17 and Jan 19

"My highlights of 2020? Honestly this question is odd to answer amidst all the doom and gloom. The only thing that I could say is that I was able to finish my final year with relatively more ease than others."


Shafaa is studying BA Honours in Multimedia Design at UJ.


Shafaa Shikjee, RF 2013.

"After graduating in Clinical Medical Practice from Wits in 2019, I started working in March 2020. I assist with COVID testing and contact tracing in mining communities for Anglo American in the Kimberley area."


Gugu Khoza, RF 2012.  

"‘Nothing is too difficult for the brave ‘ has resonated within me specifically in the last year. This motto together with the  lessons I learned working with different people and meeting deadlines assisted me in conquering the challenges of online studying and passing first year."


Tasneem is studying

Occupational Therapy at Wits.


Tasneem Bharoochi, RF 2015.

Read more from Aug 18, Feb 19 and Jan 20

"The programme and Jeppe prepared me well for university. The mentors and the girls are always a place to go for guidance and support. I'm going into my final year as a politics and media major at Wits and working

part-time. I intend to do my

honours in politics if I'm lucky

enough to get another bursary."


Francesca Martis, RF 2014.

Read more from June 18

Lerato Makhatini.jpeg

"I'm enrolled at the University of Free State in the  LLB programme. This will be my final year of study. My greatest highlight of 2020 was passing all my modules and obtaining 5 distinctions for the year.   Online learning during the pandemic was not easy at all. I struggled with taking care of my mental and psychological health. However this is an aspect I’ll work on improving this year along my other goals."


Lerato Makhatini, RF 2012.

Read more from Jan 18

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"2020 was the biggest learning curve I have experienced to date. University in Cape Town, lockdown, online learning, many challenges. I made the decision to reintroduce myself using my full name, 'Ntandoyenkosi', which means 'God's will.' For me, this is an acceptance of who I am, and the realization that my life is the will of something a lot bigger

than I am."


Ntandoyenkosi is studying

Social Science at UCT.


Ntandoyenkosi Manana, RF 2015.

Read more from Aug 19 and Jan 20

"The outside world seemed a little tough after high school but due to the support from family, friends and mentors, it became bearable. I'm grateful I was warned about sleepless nights, studying in the early mornings and surviving on an hour of sleep before writing an exam. Because of that, I was able to pass my Board Exams with a distinction and qualify as a Medical Technician in Phlebotomy."

Lerato Letele, RF 2014.

"I’d be lying if I said that the outside world is an easy place to navigate. It is not. But having the great support system from high school which I can still reach out to even today, significantly helps relieve the pressure. The Ruth First Scholarship mentors and mentees that I have the honour to know and appreciate, continue to provide me with perspectives and resources that help in shaping the outside world that I aspire to change and improve."

Philile Nkabinde, RF 2013.

"The Ruth First Scholarship provided

me with a toolbox of people, communication and networking skills which boosted my confidence.

It opened the door for countless opportunities, including funding for

my Engineering studies at Wits,

and was a highlight on my CV

resulting in my being employed in the Corporate Investment Banking space.

It has been the inspiration behind

my work ethic and motivates me to always try my utmost best."


Zenadene Lazarus, RF 2011.

Read more from Oct 19,

Feb 20 and April 20

"Some may think adjusting to life after high school would be tremendously difficult and arduous. At university, I discovered I possessed qualities such as being meticulous, tenacious and hardworking which had been extensively developed and nurtured by the Ruth First mentors. These have allowed me not only to manoeuvre smoothly through my first year, but to thrive and continue to grow into a well rounded individual."


Amanda is studying at UJ.


Amanda Mashingaidze, RF 2015.

Read more from Jan 20

"I'm proud to have completed my first year of medicine. It was daunting at first but I had an incredible time doing it.

I'm looking forward to beginning my second year of MBBCh at Wits - I'm really excited about the cadavers and dissections. Another big step closer

to wearing scrubs and finally having

a stethoscope around my neck but these are just symbols of a dream 

that's slowly being realised."


Mandisa Mpinga, RF 2015.

Read more from March 19 and Jan 20

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Nthabaleng is studying B Com Industrial Psychology at UJ. She completed her third year in 2020 and plans to continue her studies in this field. Her challenges in 2020 included adjusting to on-line learning, experiencing Covid close to home with her aunt in ICU for two weeks and thankfully making a recovery.


Nthabaleng Mohlala, RF 2013.

"For the most part, I have been focused on my studies, Bachelor of Education at Wits which I will be completing this year. I have also worked as a tutor with high school learners from my neighbourhood. I ventured into this with the hope that it would be valuable for future employment purposes as I am following a career in education. I also published my first novel on my website in 2020."


Kefiloe Tladi, RF 2013.

Read more from June 17

I used to think Jeppe’s standard of excellence was unfair and almost unattainable. I have come to realise that it's not the standard that was unfair,  but rather my mindset that had failed to see my true potential. Through constantly working hard to reach this standard I have come to realise that nothing is truly unattainable if you set your mind to it. With those values and lessons imprinted in my heart, I constantly live out

Jeppe’s famous motto:

“Nothing is too difficult for the brave”.


Tayana is studying BCom

Financial Science at Tukkies.


Tayana Magatti, RF 2014.

Read more from Aug 18 and Jan 19

“Jeppe was a stepping stone but still somehow manages to be a pillar every single day. And the Ruth First Trust is a debt I will never ever be able to repay because it never stops giving, to others and to myself, even now.”


Melisa is studying B Com Human Resources at Unisa.


Melisa Mpoyi, RF 2011.

Read more from Jan 21

"Being part of the Ruth First Family is a privilege. It has moulded me into to the young woman I am today. Currently in my third and final year of Clinical Medical Practice at Wits, it would not have been possible without my sponsor. They are still a part of my life and making a difference. Of course it hasn't been easy, but having been part of the Jeppe family, I am well equipped to take on life as an independent force. Needless to say, this isn't the end of my journey. Success in the form of genuine happiness still awaits!"

Nneka Nwodo, RF 2014.

Read more from April 18

Humayra Akhalwaya.jpeg

"Being a Ruthie equipped me to survive university. I am now beginning my third year of Architecture at Wits and have made use of many skills I learnt in the mentorship programme. After this year I hope to start working in the architectural field and complete my postgraduate studies."

Humayra Akhalwaya, RF 2014.

Read more from

March 18, May 18 and April 20

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"In 2020, I completed my BSc (Hons) degree in Mechanical Engineering with distinction at the University of Cape Town. Rand Water generously extended their support of my academic career from the Ruth First Trust to my undergraduate studies with an external bursary. In 2021, I look forward to joining their graduate programme."


Thirasha Waidyaratne, RF 2012.

Read more from Aug 18

"I think we can all safely say that no other year has tested the Jeppe motto 'Nothing is too difficult for the brave' like 2020. With the virus putting the world in complete halt mode, I drew strength from this motto many times. I imagine most of the Ruthies

did so as well."


Marlene is studying Pharmacology

at Rhodes.


Marlene Angwafor, RF 2015.

Read more from

March 18, June 18, Oct 18,

May 19 and Jan 20

"It has been two years since I left South Africa. I have had to grow up quickly and become independent, even if it sometimes feels overwhelming. The values and skills that I have learned from my parents, Jeppe and the Ruth First Scholarship program have contributed to my will to persevere past hardships to achieve my goals."


Ivana is studying B.Sc International Wine Business at Hochschule Geisenheim

in Germany.


Ivana Garvanski, RF 2014.

Read more from Nov 18,

Jan 19 and Sept 21

"I managed to get into Rhodes University which has been an amazing experience. I've learned about myself and the world - I wish all students were afforded the opportunity. One of the biggest challenges is securing funding; especially when that funding is variable."


Tafadzwa is registered to do her Honours in Geography at

Rhodes in 2021.


Tafadzwa Makhuza, RF 2013.

Read more from May 17

"As I begin my journey into my 5th year of medical school at Wits, I realise that a different set of skills is required from me at this stage of my life. After four years focused on the study of medical theory, I am finally being introduced into the hospital setting. This, however, comes at a very uncertain time of a pandemic. The resilience and determination that I learnt from the ‘Ruth First Programme’ seems to resonate with me now more than ever."


Firdous Hamid, RF 2012.

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"Being a Ruth First Scholar means a lot to me. I was able to meet so many inspirational and influential people, especially through the mentorship program. I am currently the Lead Graphic Designer for EDGE Evolve. I feel like being in the mentorship program taught me how to deal with different situations and different types of people."


Stacy Tim, RF 2011.

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"It was inevitable that I would have to leave the safe haven created by the Ruth First mentors. The incredible opportunity I was given will keep motivating me to become the best possible version of myself. I'm going into my second year at Wits studying Economics, Investments and Corporate Finance."


Monique Teixiera, RF 2015.

Read more from

March 18 and Feb 19

"The outside world was extremely scary for me. The idea of being an adult, making my own decisions about my career path, and going after what you want to succeed was daunting. Finding my own voice in the big world was not easy. However the values and ethos that were instilled in me at Jeppe and in the Ruth First Mentorship Programme helped me persevere and conquer this scary new world."


Ngalula has just completed her BCom in Accounting at Wits.


Ngalula Tshiembi, RF 2013.

"Thanks to the Ruth First Mentorship Programme,  I have made friendships that have endured since leaving school. I’ve also found a community which believed in my capabilities when I didn’t believe in them myself! Whenever I feel down , I remember that I’ve been given the opportunity to be there for these new mentees the way everyone was there for me , and it’s a comforting thought."


Nawaal Santos, RF 2014.

"Life in the outside world revolves around change, which has been quite challenging. However, the

Ruth First Scholarship’s mentorship programme continues to provide

the much needed fuel that propels me to overcome any obstacles

and reach for my dreams."


Natasha Mwilambwe, RF 2015.

Read more from June 18,

Sept 19 and Feb 21

"The 'outside world' is not as intimidating as I made myself believe

it would be. I am coping very well

with the changes I've had to face

thus far, despite previously thinking 'that's too difficult'. With each new experience I can see real growth in who I am as a person and it makes me

excited to  see what the future holds."


Claudia is studying Corporate Communications at Varsity College.


Claudia Steincke, RF 2014.

Read more from Nov 18 and Jan 19

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"I am studying Digital Arts at Wits and recently moved in with my grandmother to look after her. 

I believe the Ruth First

mentorship program helped

instill many fundamental life lessons, a big one being: how to 

be a strong independent woman."


Jamie Moyce, RF 2014.

Read more from Aug 18

and April 20

"I have spent my first year in the ‘real world’ studying towards a degree in science. In addition to this, I got my driver's licence and  I have been able to pursue a number of projects. My favorite is my blog about navigating life as a student in the 21st century which I hope to have up and running by April."


Melissa is registered for BSc Biological Sciences,

2nd year at Wits.


Melissa Nyalungu, RF 2015.

Noluthando is studying B Com Accounting at Wits. She is in 3rd year in 2021 and does part time tutoring. Her highlight of 2020 was moving into a new house with her family. Covid was the lowlight.


Noluthando Zikalala, RF 2013.

"I have just graduated with my BHSc (Biomedicine) degree at Wits. This year, I will be doing my honours in Physiology."


Daniella Nicho, RF 2013.

"The Ruth First program boosted my confidence and that allowed me to approach anything I wanted to do with

a strong sense of self and curiosity. Whether it was tutoring,

event planning, or expanding my creative skills in areas such as

AR (Augmented Reality),

I knew I could do it."


Sasha-Lee is doing her Honours

in BA Digital Arts this year at Wits.


Sasha-Lee Morare, RF 2012.

Read more from Aug 18

"Being a part of the Ruth First Scholarship and having mentors in the program helped me tremendously with my communication skills which in turn has aided my ability to network successfully with people of all ages."


Lisa George, RF 2011.

Kgomotso Sekhukhune.jpeg

"Leaving for the outside world was a mixture of excitement and nerves. Once I was comfortable in my environment, it was easier to do the things I wanted to. When opportunities arose, I took them. Some succeeded, some failed but it's the overall effort that counts. We will achieve our goals in due time."


Kgomotso is in her final year of

B Com Marketing at Free State University.


Kgomotso Sekhukhune, RF 2014.

Read more from Feb 18, March 18,

Aug 18 and April 20

Dominique Meysel.jpeg

"I'm currently living in Southern Germany and studying a business course in English. I'm loving living in a foreign country and my German is becoming fluent. I've finally made friends in my university but I do miss the easy life of high school and having my mentorship sessions on a Saturday as they were so helpful!"


Dominique is studying International Management at the Technical University Deggendorf in Germany.


Dominique Meysel, RF 2012.

"Life now is much less regimented than school was, so I've had to be more responsible and disciplined in managing my time to get work done. I've taken the initiative to do new things, such as learning Arabic. It is a series of trial and error until you find what works for you, but it's also an adventure.  I thank Jeppe and the mentor programme for setting me up to manage the outside world with relative ease. I am doing my final year of Computer Science at Wits, and am considering Honours after that."


Zahraa Akhalwaya, RF 2013.

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