Meet SA Students Who Turned to Crowdfunding to Secure University Fees

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Rene Morcom
Rene Morcom

According to a TimesLive reporting a 78.2% matric pass rate for Class of 2018 and 156,885 distinctions across the country, students are taking to crowdfunding to finance the next step of the academic journey.

Since December 2018, Donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, has welcomed over 50 new crowdfunding campaigns for students looking to raise funds for university deposits, text books and tuition.

Frances Whitehead

Frances Whitehead
Frances Whitehead/picture via BackaBuddy

International student, Frances Whitehead (20) set up a campaign to raise R128,000.00 towards her final year at University of Cape Town when her parents fell under financial strain.

In a couple days, Frances exceeded her target, raising R132,873.66 with contributions from 26 donors to continue her studies.

Take a look at Frances’ BackaBuddy campaign.

Randy Seda

randy seda
Randy Seda

Randy Seda (21) has dreams of becoming a chartered accountant and he’s currently studying at the University of Pretoria.

Unable to support his studies after his mother suffered an unfortunate stroke, Randy set up a campaign on BackaBuddy to raise R137,000, the sum of his current year’s fees.

Thus far, Randy has raised R12,912.62 which will be paid directly to the University by BackaBuddy

Support Randy’s studies by donating here

Rene Morcom

Rene Morcom
Rene Morcom

Rene Morcom (33) is the first ever student to address ehealth in the history of Unisa. She has worked hard, from being unable to continue school in grade 8, to being accepted into university.

To follow her dreams of becoming a social worker, Rene set up a campaign on BackaBuddy to cover the R13,000 deposit for final year, doing her honors in Social Work and Telemental Health Certification.

“I started a home called Thandi House in Pietermaritzburg for abandoned and abused children and I wanted a qualification that would help make the world a better place. I am not just a student trying to pass because I have to, I am a student who loves what she is studying and I know that my studies can touch and change lives,” says Morcom.

Maya Rose Godden

Maya Rose Godden
Maya Rose Godden

Maya Rose Godden (20), a student at the University of Cape Town, was awarded a Golden Key Honours Society membership and was placed on the Deans Merit List for both her previous years of study at the University of Cape Town.

To continue her BA in Film & Media Production, Maya set up a campaign on BackaBuddy, when she was unable to cover her tuition.

“I am currently trying everything to ensure that I can continue my studies this year, including looking and applying for bursaries, loans and part time work. However, I will be unable to pay the registration fee of R25,500 by February and it is looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll be able to afford the rest of my fees for this year (R34,500),” says Godden.

Maya has Thus far R10,913.06 towards her R30,000 fundraising target on BackaBuddy.

Brighton Manaba

Brighton Manaba and his mom
Brighton Manaba and his mom, Mercy

Brighton Manaba (22) has worked hard towards achieving a strong academic record and since he was young, had dreams of studying Mechanical Engineering.

Despite his difficult circumstances, Brighton achieved excellent grades at the University of Johannesburg.

“Before now I had the help of my parents working. But with my father, who is in his late 60s resigning from his security job due to old age, I am unable to cover my tuition on my own” says Manaba.

Mercy created a campaign on BackaBuddy on her son’s behalf, on the 14th of January, to raise R16,400.00 towards his fees. The campaign has already raised R2,998.30 which will be transferred directly to the university once he has reached his target.

Miselwa Ngamlana

Miselwa Ngamlana
Miselwa Ngamlana

In 2017, Luntu Masiza (27) from Khayelitsha, created a campaign on BackaBuddy to raise funds for his friend, Miselwa Ngamlana’s (21) studies when she was suspended from AFDA for outstanding fees, 4 months before finishing her degree.

Luntu discovered BackaBuddy when he was looking for fundraising to complete his own studies in 2016 and thought crowdfunding might be a good option to get Miselwa back to school.

With donations from Miselwa’s lecturers, classmates and friends, R17,317.50 was raised on BackaBuddy towards the outstanding school fees and Miselwa was able to return to class.

To ensure transparency, most students opt to have their funds managed directly by BackaBuddy.

“Crowdfunding is always an attractive alternative for students hoping to study without incurring debt, but one of the biggest concerns in the donor community, is always the question of where generated funds will be used. For this reason we offer the option to manage funds for our campaign creators and pay universities and other relevant intuitions directly to ensure donor peace of mind when supporting students. BackaBuddy assisted campaigns also tend to raise more funds,” said Catherine Du Plooy, Backabuddy COO.

Campaigns created by a close friend or family member tend to perform better says Du Plooy.

“What made Miselwa’s campaign so powerful, is how Luntu took things into his own hands and stood up for his friend in her time of need. Campaigns usually raise more funds if driven by close family member or friend who is passionate about the beneficiary and what they are trying to achieve,” said Du Plooy.

In 2018, over R35 million was raised on BackaBuddy and over 1800 new crowdfunding campaigns were launched.

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