UCT rolls out ‘blue carpet’ for top matriculants

Phenyo Tlou Phukubje, Limpopo’s top matriculants, has arrived in Cape Town ready to put his scholarship to good use to one day become a surgeon. Picture: Supplied.

Phenyo Tlou Phukubje, Limpopo’s top matriculants, has arrived in Cape Town ready to put his scholarship to good use to one day become a surgeon. Picture: Supplied.

Published Feb 8, 2023


AS first year students begin to make their way to their tertiary institutions of choice, the University of Cape Town is rolling out the “blue carpet” for its scholarship recipients, made up of a group of top performing matriculants.

The university’s vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng welcomed one of the scholarship recipients, Phenyo Tlou Phukubje, at the Cape Town International Airport from Limpopo earlier this week.

Phukubje was named the top performer in his home province of Limpopo during the announcement of the 2022 matric results.

Phakeng said the aim of the VC's blue carpet scholarship was to attract top learners to the top university, and give them the support they needed.

The scholarship valued at R100 000 per year, is awarded to applicants who have excelled in the final examinations in 2022 and wish to study at the UCT, and is valid for three years.

Recipients have to be named on their faculty’s dean’s merit list to retain the scholarship which covers tuition and residence. The balance can be used for laptops, books and other study needs.

Phukubje told the Weekend Argus that the best thing about the scholarship was that it took the pressure off his mother to find ways to pay for his education.

“It's not easy to get a bursary as a student in the faculty of health sciences, getting a scholarship gave me assurance about things like the deposit fee,” he said.

“I was excited and anxious at the same time because an opportunity like this meant that I had to maintain the standard or even perform beyond it. It was a lot of pressure.”

Phukubje said he hoped to work hard enough to make it to the dean's list one day, and he had also signed up for a few extra curricular activities as a way of expanding his knowledge beyond medicine.

The high achiever said he always had an interest in medicine.

“I feel like being a surgeon has always been a calling of mine. I’ve considered other career paths but everything kept leading me toward medicine.

Phukubje said he had settled down in Cape Town easily and found a home away from home.

“‘I've spent my whole life in Limpopo surrounded by mountains so it was a very exciting experience to finally be around the beach,” he said.

“I would like to say to Mrs Phakeng and her team that I'm grateful for the opportunity which they have given me, no words can describe the impact this scholarship has had on my life.”

Phakeng said the scholarship programme commenced when she took office in 2018.

“I have just re-branded it recently and the scholarship is a form of encouragement to all who are doing Grade 12 to apply to UCT, and then work hard knowing that (they will qualify) if they participate in the key Olympiads and or obtain top results.”

Phakeng said around 50 students had been chosen for the scholarship but they will only know the final figures after registration is concluded.

She said if any of the scholarship’s recipients choose not to take up UCT’s offer, they would not be replaced by any others.

Last year the UCT scholarship was offered to 17 of the country’s top matriculants, the majority of whom were from KwaZulu-Natal.

Weekend Argus