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Access To Success: Nokwanda Tengeni

Access To Success: Nokwanda Tengeni

“It’s been my dream to study at the University of the Western Cape because of the high quality of education offered here,” says B.Ed student Nokwanda Linki Tengeni. And thanks to UWC’s Access To Success 2017 campaign, financial issues won’t turn that dream into a nightmare.

“One of my favourite moments at UWC was the Prof O’Connell’s welcome to the first-year students in 2013,” says Nokwanda. “At that stage I was still in shock and didn't believe that I had made it into UWC. It was from that moment on that the reality of this new experience started sinking in.”

Further study wasn’t a guarantee for the lifelong Khayelitsha, Cape Town resident - she comes from a large family of five (all of whom  went to Vuzamanzi Primary School, then to Intlanganis Senior Secondary). Providing for fees, textbooks, transport and so on was a bit of a challenge. And being a parent while studying, Nokwanda faced other difficulties as well.

“Raising kids while studying was my biggest challenge,” she says. “You can't really concentrate with kids around who constantly want your attention, but I've managed throughout with the support I am getting from my mom.”

Nokwanda was dealt another blow when she lost a baby at birth.

“It was hard for me and it had a devastating impact on my academic life - I failed and had to repeat my second year, which meant I couldn't get a bursary for further study. So it's been really difficult to generate money for my studies as well as for my kids to go to school.”

The Access to Success campaign, running from 7 August to 31 August 2017,  focuses on providing much-needed funding to students who are performing well academically, but who cannot afford university fees.

“I owe the University a large sum of money and I really don’t have enough words,” says Nokwanda. “But I'll start by saying, ‘Thank you’,  and requesting that they continue doing what they are doing. Knowing that I’m somehow going to be supported by Access to Success is enough to help me concentrate on my studies, rather than on my finances. At least I have one less thing to worry about.”

Thanks to Access To Success, Nokwanda is dreaming even bigger than before.

“I want to continue my schooling and be in an established career in teaching some day,” she says. “And hopefully I’ll get a chance to open my own NGO and help other kids - not only girls - who are facing the same problems I’ve experienced...and make my mother proud.”

Access To Success 2017: Helping Others Grow From Hope To Action

The Access To Success 2017 campaign includes:

•    a public media fundraising campaign;?

•    an alumni phonathon where current students gather testimonies from alumni and request regular,

     affordable annual donations; and?

•    a pledge system to allow UWC staff to contribute.?

Last year the campaign exceeded all expectations, having raised over R1,6 million in pledges in three weeks - the target was R1million in five weeks - and having also brought on board 557 new alumni and staff givers.

So far, 93 students have benefited from Access To Success - and students can apply for funding through UWC’s Financial Aid Office.

To make a contribution, whether a monthly debit order or once-off donation,  or for more information about the #AccessToSuccess campaign, please contact Ms Somayah Barnes at or visit