In the industrial town of Kariega in the Eastern Cape, a young girl watched as her mother obtained her teacher’s training certificate when she was in her late thirties and her degree in her fifties.  It took many sacrifices, including giving up her job to pursue her studies, but she never gave up. For Phumelela Mnamatha her mother’s perseverance was an inspiration, “Getting an education has always been a dream for me as I have seen its importance and the opportunities it could open”.

Phumelela Mnamatha, a young working mother and 3rd-year student from Communicare’s Reyger Court in Brooklyn

After matric, Phumelela moved to Cape Town hoping to further her studies, but life was fraught with financial difficulties and other obstacles, and she was unable to complete. The desire to learn and better herself was not extinguished though.

A year after moving to Communicare’s Reyger Court complex in Brooklyn, while collecting her mail, she saw an advertisement for the Zerilda Steyn Bursary Fund on the notice board. It attracted the young mother’s interest. “I knew I had to take a chance and apply”.

And apply she did with a positive outcome. For the past three years, Vulamathuba, Communicare’s social arm which manages the Zerilda Steyn Bursary Fund, has supported Phumelela by paying her tuition fees and for her textbooks. This has allowed her to pursue her dream of studying for a National Diploma in Real Estate at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

As a mother of a ten-year-old boy, working at the Deeds Office as a Registration Clerk and currently in the third year of her diploma studies, Phumelela, like her mother in previous years, has made many sacrifices to make her dreams a reality, and learned many life lessons. During the past three years, she has learned to juggle work, study, and social life, how to prioritise her studies above things like screen time. In 2020 she battled with COVID-19 and managed to balance life commitments which included her studies, and she was able to progress to her final year this year.

“I would like to encourage and motivate others to look out for opportunities and never give up. There are opportunities to study out there. The government and many private institutions like Vulamathuba are providing opportunities for those who are in need financially and academically.”

Phumelela dreams of opening her own business in real estate or property management and working with black and illiterate communities.

For Phumelela, whose name means “be successful”, success certainly beckons. And it all started, four years ago when she went to collect her mail and saw the advert for the Bursary Fund.

“I thank Vulamathuba for believing in me and for awarding me the bursary, the emotional support, and patience I received from the office staff, even during the most strenuous times of my life. I am positive and looking forward to a brighter future”.

The Zerilda Steyn Bursary Fund

If you, like Phumelela, are a Communicare tenant and would like to pursue tertiary studies, have the academic potential, and are financially disadvantaged, this might be your opportunity.

The bursary covers:

  • Registration Fees
  • Tuition Fees
  • Textbooks and
  • Examination fees, if applicable.

*The bursary fund excludes historical fees and costs associated with previous study expenses.

Basic requirements:

  • You must be listed on the Communicare lease agreement.
  • The annual gross income of your family must not exceed R350 000.

Please Note:

  • Applications open on 01 September 2021.
  • The closing date for the applications is 31 October 2021.
  • Priority will be given to students applying to study toward a qualification that is listed as scarce and/or critical skill in South Africa as per the current National Critical Skills List.
  • The Zerilda Steyn Bursary Fund awards bursaries annually and is renewable at its discretion.
  • Successful candidates will have to sign an agreement with Vulamathuba.

For more details click here and to download the application form click here or send your inquiries to