GBOBA Bursary

The Full Story

After Nelson Mandela was released in 1990, there was an overwhelming influx of people into the cities of South Africa. Squatter camps, now called “Informal settlements”, and often referred to as “townships”, grew up around all major cities and towns. Some of these communities in the larger cities have over a million people in them with more than half of the inhabitants without work or any prospects. South Africa has an official unemployment rate of over 25% (estimated at 43% for young people) and probably more like 50% in the townships.

The Fund
From the initiative launched by the General Botha Classes of 1961, during their 50 year class reunion in 2011 a legal Public Benefit Organisation, the “SATS General Botha Old Boys Association Bursary Fund” was formed. The Fund is registered with SARS. (South African Revenue Service) and as such donations are Tax Deductible,

The Fund’s modest start provided bursaries to two students and an almost immediate improvement in the scholastic results was noted. These two students completed their grade 12 in 2013.

'What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lived'
Nelson Mandela

Our first two students Zusiphe Mzotho and Tsoso Hanong (both from Claremont Township in Durban) have since graduated from Lawhill Maritime Centre with flying colours, and have now been accepted at the Cape Peninsular University of Technology before proceeding to sea in 2015. The Fund is going from strength to strength.”

The General Botha Old Boys’ Association award bursaries to carefully assessed, suitable and needy candidates to attend the Simon’s Town School so that they can follow the maritime courses offered by the Lawhill Maritime Centre (A part of the school), and, ultimately, move into worthwhile careers at sea or ashore. Brian Ingpen (The Head of Department) and his colleagues at Lawhill are training prospective students in preparation for their chosen career. Brian and his team are very dedicated and passionate about their work and are doing a great job. Their success rate has been outstanding.

The Fund has managed to establish itself in the maritime industry thanks to personal and corporate support worldwide, including Canada, United Kingdom and Australia and now in 2014 we have seven bursars.

Understandably the Fund needs to encourage sponsor support to ensure the we are able to sustain the bursaries and achieve the objectives, the main emphasis being to produce qualified seafarers for the future.

Via the Association’s Annual Golf Day and other fund raising events, or by special donations, this project has been extremely well supported by Old Boys, by a number of corporates and by individuals.

The Fund is very much a hands-on organisation run totally by volunteers and not one Rand of money raised goes to anything else except the students and small incidental expenses. We regularly meet with our students and are closely involved in monitoring their results and mentoring them. The Administrators provide their time free of charge and in addition, some Old Boys play an important mentoring role for Lawhill students.

We as General Botha Old Boys are very much involved with Mentoring these students during their time at Lawhill and arrange visits to ships, shipping companies and other Maritime events. We also encourage an out reach program to help other and spread the word.

We, as ex-students, feel very proud to have attended the South African Training Ship General Botha and many of us went on to make a career at sea.


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