Maggie’s legacy honoured with student fund

Siphelo Duba is the first beneficiary of the Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund.

The Rabie Property Group has established a fund for university students in honour of one of its employees, who helped turn a foundering high school in Joe Slovo into an inspirational success story.

Maggie Rowley, was with the group from 2004, and was involved in the project to overhaul Sinenjongo High School after the company adopted it in 2007 as the main beneficiary of its corporate social investment programme.

Within three years, the matric pass rate soared from 27% in 2008 to 98% in 2020. Ms Rowley, who died on January 1 last year at 61 after a battle with cancer, had been the empathic driving force behind the transformation, the company said.

“In remembrance of Maggie and the tremendous impact she made during her lifetime, as well as continuing the legacy of the burning passion she had for uplifting the youngsters of Sinenjongo High School, Rabie has launched the Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund”, said Rabie director John Chapman.

“Students in the past were chosen entirely on their academic performance and our CEO or directors would assist these students in their private capacities up to graduation and beyond. We felt that it has become necessary to not only formalise this process, but also to do so in Maggie’s honour.”

The school’s matrics were invited to apply in March, and from those applicants, the top-four academic performers were shortlisted for interviews that decided final outcome.

The fund does not pay for any study fees but instead covers everyday needs not covered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), such as bedding, basic appliances, clothing, data, airtime and a computer.

The first beneficiary is Siphelo Duba,18, who lives with his mother in Joe Slovo.

Siphelo plans to study aerospace engineering and has his eye on Nasa and international space travel.

“I’m excited about getting this funding. It is going to help me a lot,” he said.

Describing himself as a “practical person” with a fascination for outer space, he said he felt a career in aerospace engineering was the right fit for him.

According to Rabie, there is no cap on the value of the fund that will be paid when needed directly to each recipient through their university career.

Philanthropists and donors are welcome to contribute to the fund.

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