Our recent Alumnae luncheon was a celebration of the 19 Ruth First recipients who have now left the school and headed out into the world. Lerato Makhathini stole the show: vivacious, put together, confident - she had her colleagues hanging on her every word as she spoke of life as a Law student on the University of the Free State campus in Bloemfontein. Living solo, washing and cooking, reading a book a week for English, doing promotions for Samsung to earn pocket money, campus protests, Law as a discipline - it was wonderful to witness her growth over the past year since she left school.
A fees only bursary from ABI got her into
UFS in February last year. With no places available in residence accommodation, and after a disastrous first 'digs' choice, she reached out to a fellow Jeppe old girl, and found out about and moved into a girls' only block of flats at the beginning of March. NSFAS funding for accommodation, books and food was finally approved mid year - so her first semester was a financial challenge. Nevertheless, she achieved five distinctions out of the nine courses she completed in her first year, and is on track to complete her LLB in 2021.
As a second year student, Lerato is looking forward to becoming more involved in campus activities, including the Moot Court and the Judicial Society. She would also like to get vacation work in a legal firm if possible. She enjoys using the university gym for spinning and strength workouts, and spending time with her friends, watching movies and relaxing.
What would change her life is a laptop - she currently uses her phone or the university computers in the library to do her reading and complete her studies.
Reflecting on her years at Jeppe, Lerato says: "Unlike university, the staff were accessible and helpful. School life: the gala, the flower show, the Ruth First scholarship events - it felt like a family which I loved being a part of. Jeppe gave me a strong foundation on how to handle the outside world."
Lerato is pictured above outside the Wits Club with Kevin Tait at the recent Alumnae lunch.