A non-profit organisation in the field of secondary education which provides full Scholarships to private schools as well as an Educational Outreach Programme

Leigh in Fairlady – Clarins Most Dynamic Woman

Fairlady March Issue 

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Leigh Bristow voted Clarins Most Dynamic Woman

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Leigh Bristow in line to be Clarins Most Dynamic woman of the year!

Leigh Bristow was nominated for and is now a finalist in the Clarins Most Dynamic Woman of the year award! Every year the title goes to a South African woman who is caring for disadvantaged, ill or orphaned children.

Buy February’s issue of Fairlady, Sarie or True Love! 

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Shadrack’s amazing speech: Watch and read here!

Shadrack Khorombi joined Sumbandila in 2009 and is currently studying Construction at Wits University. He delivered an inspiring speech at Sumbandila’s year-end function on 28 November 2015. Watch the video!


Shadrack Khorombi. Full Alumni Speech delivered at Sumbandila year-end Function, 28 November 2015.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, fellow alumni and to those we are showing the way to. That’s you current Sumbandilas.

Out of Suffering have emerged the strongest souls, the most massive characters are seared with scars” [Khalil Gibran]

We have all been made stronger through our suffering. We learn through our mishaps and we excel because we make mistakes and we learn from them.

Sumbandila gave us a remedy to heal our wounds. Now we have scars. Scars never disappear, they become a part of who we are and they always make us remember where we come from. This way we achieve, transform and succeed.

Shadrack Speech

To the incoming Sumbandila Form 1s:

I urge you to think of Sumbandila not as a bus but a pair of shoes. You have not won yourselves a bus ticket out of where you come from but you have been given a new pair of shoes to continue walking the one million miles journey to success. Walking makes you aware of your surroundings, you can always look back to where you are coming from and you can see where you are going. In a bus ride, you are not aware of the things happening outside and you cannot see where you come from thus you forget who you truly are.

As you know you will be going home every weekend which means that you will be living in two completely different worlds. You are going to have to build bridges to connect the two worlds, do not swim across to this world and leave your old world behind. You will have to build a bridge between the western culture and the traditional culture, build a bridge between rich and poor, between races, between beliefs and between your social lives.

To most of you it will feel like you are back in grade one. Don’t worry, I was also there once. If you do badly in a test, you have not failed because the word FAIL is just an acronym for the words “First Attempt In Learning”. Give yourselves time to grow, time to make the transition and time to adapt.

I will leave you with the words of Ben Okri to help you keep going in times when giving up seems to be the only solution. He said:

The most authentic thing about us is our ability to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering”.

To the current Form 5s:

To those who are going to university, brace yourselves. There is no “prep time” at varsity. You need to be determined, disciplined and most importantly you need to prioritise. And you are going to need all the grit and zest in order to make it.

It is not easy but it doesn’t mean it cannot be done. You have all the resources at your disposal, books, libraries, labs, the internet and finance. The road has been paved for you and all you have to do is play your part.

To those who will be taking a gap year, working is also tough. I have been there. What is expected for you is to grow ten years older in a year. However, you will learn a lot. By the end of the year you will have matured enough emotionally and grown intellectually to take on tertiary education.

If you find yourself unable to go to university because of your marks, please do not despair. Try harder. I have been there too. I do not like calling it failing but rather a blessing in disguise because the suffering will make you a greater individual.

To all of us:

Let’s never forget to set goals, both short term and long term, because goals are like water points and check points in this one million miles walk to success. We can never do it in one go. We have to work towards that ultimate dream through these goals.

Sumbandila has taught us grit and zest. It has taught us humility and integrity. These are the values that we must always hold dear because they are our most potent weapons. They define us and they will make us persevere.

On behalf of the alumni I would like to say thank you to Sumbandila for always being there, for caring and for your never ending support. One person who deserves to be mentioned today is Emily. She has worked tirelessly to make sure that all is well with us at university. Thank you Emily for putting up with us, me in particular. We can all agree that you grew ten years emotionally in a year because you made it.

Thank you to Elsie for making sure that we are here today and for always sending us those vacancy and bursary applications emails.

Leigh… You have gone to the world’s ends to make sure that Sumbandila lives. I was so humbled and filled with respect for you when I said sorry that DG Murray [Trust] will not be sponsoring the Outlier programme any more and you said “oh no don’t worry I have made another plan”. Thank you for never giving up on us, thank you for being strong and thank you for caring.

Thank you all and have a blessed afternoon.


Also watch Shadrack’s story here:

Sumbandila shines at Ridgeway’s Honours Evening

List of awards received by Sumbandila students at

Ridgeway College Honours Evening 2015


Tendani Mukhithi

Outstanding Effort Mathematics

Outstanding Effort Science

Outstanding Effort Social Science

Outstanding Effort Overall Achievement

Naho Maduwa

Outstanding Effort English

Outstanding Effort Art

Ronewa Rambau

Outstanding Effort

Outstanding Effort Afrikaans

Outstanding Effort EMS


Mutshidzi Ramavheya

Outstanding Effort Accountancy

Kamogelo Siphuma

Outstanding Effort Biology


Thiofhi Mamburu

Outstanding Effort Mathematics


Mpho Kutama

Academic Excellence Mathematics

Academic Excellence Physical Science

Mpho Netshifhefhe

Academic Excellence Mathematics

Outstanding Effort Accountancy

Academic Excellence over 70% Average

Form 5

Phuluso Mawela

Outstanding Effort English

Certificate of Merit in Drama

The heads special award

Best Senior Creative writer

Rihangwele Serakalala

Academic Excellence (over 70% Average)

Outstanding Effort Accountancy

Karabo Manuga

Outstanding Effort Geography

Outstanding Effort Mathematics

Timothy Mukansi

Outstanding Effort Mathematics

Spotlight on star student Phuluso Mawela

Phuluso 1The Sumbandila team have had the privilege of nurturing Phuluso Mawela over the past five years. Currently in his final year writing the AS Level exams, Phuluso has grown into a confident yet humble leader who cares deeply about the Sumbandila family and more importantly his own family at home.

“When you are in the village you don’t actually see much of the world or see what you are missing out on. When I was awarded the Sumbandila Scholarship I realized that I can actually do what I want to do not just follow what the people around me are doing” says Phuluso.

His distinctively diverse interests range from acting and guitar playing to creative writing and sports. He discovered a deep passion for basketball and took the initiative to start a basketball team at Ridgeway College which has grown to a competitive level in the Limpopo league.Phuluso 3

Leigh Bristow says that “Phuluso is a wonderful example of a committed Sumbandila scholar, not only because he is in leadership, participates enthusiastically in sport and performs well academically, but mostly because he is proud of where he comes from, he is proud of his mother and all that she has done for him, and he is proud to be part of Sumbandila. We are very proud of him.”

Phuluso’s self-belief comes from his mother, who made many sacrifices to get him through primary school. They both endured the trauma of losing Phuluso’s father, living with an abusive criminal uncle and being ostracised by their community.

Phuluso 2“Because of my uncle I’ve really seen what poverty, drugs and a life of crime can do to you. So this has also helped and motivated me to actually do better, live better in a different way” says Phuluso.

Phuluso shared his story in a creative writing exercise which earned him much admiration and praise. Mr. Bart Fuiijk of the August Schippers Foundation in the Netherlands, a major sponsor of Sumbandila, was at a Sumbandila dinner when Phuluso first read his story. Bart’s enthusiasm and praise motivated Phuluso to enter the story into a national publication.

IMG_2610With the help of Mr. Mike Linden, the story was entered and eventually chosen for publication in the South African Council for English Education’s annual English Alive publication. Thrilled, Phuluso presented the story again at his school graduation ceremony and made special mention of his mother sitting in the audience.

Next year Phuluso will embark on a new chapter at the University of Pretoria where he hopes to nurture his love of nature and conservation by studying Genetics. Of course playing basketball is also high on his agenda.

Phuluso is immensely grateful for the life exposure that Sumbandila has given him, enabling him to harness his potential for the world and one day help give the same opportunity to other children just like him.

Bart is a not only a longtime funder, partner and friend of Sumbandila but is also well known by our Sumbandila family as he visits us at least once a year from the Netherlands and we are delighted that he will join us for dinner on Tuesday the 27th.

Persevering through adversities

Tsepo Seima, 2nd year Governance and Political Transformation at the University of the Free State, was tested by Sumbandila in 2008 and was awarded a 50% bursary to attend school at Ridgeway College.

Despite having not made it onto the full residential programme, Tsepo worked extremely hard at Ridgeway College and attended Saturday and holiday school with the rest of the Sumbandila Outliers. She wrote her International AS examinations in 2013 which she passed with flying colours.

Like any other first year student, Tsepo struggled a bit with the work load for the first few weeks at University but things became extremely hard for her when she lost her mother and in the following year her older brother.

This unswerving young woman worked hard even through these personal tragedies and qualified to join the Golden Key Society which is an elite group for top academic achievers across South Africa. Click here to read her report about the Golden Key Summit.

Sumbandila is extremely proud of Tsepo and we know she is going to be an excellent leader who will show the way for South Africa.Well done Tsepo!!!


Golden Key Summit Report – Tsepo Seima

The Golden Key summit I attended on the 5th of September, proudly sponsored by Sumbandila of course,  took place at the University of Witwatersrand. It began at half past eight in the morning. During the course of the summit, amazingly inspiring speakers took to the podium.

Mr. Roy Gluckman addressed to us the importance of recognizing the socioeconomic imbalances that black people suffered in apartheid South Africa and unfortunately still feel even after born-free days. And so we still need a few more generations until we can actually not need race as an indicator of class and wealth.

Ms. Isa Vorster heads up the Civil Litigation department and spoke to us about her dedication to law and ensuring that South African men pay child support. She also gave us pointers on what fundamental rights we need to know before entering the work force, when signing leases and contracts etc.

Mr. Tshidi Khunou and Tiaan van der Spuy gave us very important tips on compiling the perfect CV, both in hard copy and online CV’s. Tips included not writing your marital status, health status or adding a border around your front page because these do not in any way improve your chances of getting the job you’re applying for. Tshidi mentioned that a good CV should not exceed 2 pages because prospective employers do not want to spend more than five minutes getting to know you on paper before actually getting to interview you.

12 September Golden Key award ceremony

I attended this ceremony yesterday where I and other 2015 members were officially introduced to the international honors society.


From street boy to computer programming student

Tendai Simon or “Dr. Simon”, as he likes to call himself, could no longer endure his father’s physical abuse nor his impoverished life in the economically crippled Zimbabwe, where he was raised in a remote village called Khadoma.

The final straw was his father’s refusal to allow him to attend secondary school.

Tendai believed that a country called South Africa had better prospects, and although he had no idea how to get there he told his neighbours and close friends that he planned to move to this foreign country all by himself; they laughed at him.

Tendai was determined to escape but he had no money, no adult support, not even a map.

I had never left my place of birth before so I had to ask for directions… All I knew was that I had to catch a train from Khadoma to Bulawayo, then another one from Bulawayo to Beit bridge”.

One morning Tendai woke up, put on the only pair of shorts and t-shirt that he had, ate a bowl of cold porridge and barefoot set off into the unknown. Over the next three days Tendai stowed away in the broken toilets of two different trains, hid in train stations, struggled against hunger pangs and finally reached the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

He eavesdropped on conversations to determine how people illegally crossed the border and then, dodging between trucks and weak with hunger, he made his first attempt. Initially he was chased away by border police but he persisted and finally entered South Africa unnoticed and gratefully accepted his first meal from a street vendor.

Having gone days without any promise of food, shelter or sleep, Tendai was motivated by what he calls “the smell of freedom” in this new-found land of opportunity. He was well aware of the dangers of the streets and had to keep a low profile and walk 15km to the nearest town.

While job hunting in the small border town of Musina, Tendai found he could confide in a Catholic priest who saw him wandering the streets and eventually referred him to a Catholic boy’s shelter in Makhado town, deeper into South Africa.

Although Tendai had found a place of safety in Makhado, he was not satisfied with the “beggar’s” life adopted by the other boys in the shelter.

Father Frank who headed the shelter, recognized Tendai’s potential and referred him to the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust. Tendai was lucky to be given a chance to be tested for the bursary, and despite already having missed two years of school, he passed both English and Maths.

This is how Sumbandila came to the aid of a vulnerable yet immensely talented boy who fully embodies the notion of striving for success and taking charge of life despite seemingly insurmountable barriers.

Tendai was awarded the full Sumbandila residential scholarship and took up permanent residence at Sumbandila.

At Ridgeway College Tendai used a computer for the first time, and soon found a passion and purpose in this new-found world of technology.

When I started in form one I knew nothing about computers… I just couldn’t get my head around how much computers can do for you”.

Tendai not only passed IT and Computing with flying colours but also tutored IT for the Sumbandila Outliers and worked as an intern at Ridgeway College for a few months after his final exams.

Today Tendai is fortunate enough to be doing a course in software development at CTI in Pretoria with a loan made available by Sumbandila. His aim is to become a professional software programmer and to create educational programs for children who would otherwise be deprived of effective education.

From arriving in South Africa completely disenfranchised to following a chosen career path with international possibilities, Tendai says he has never looked back and it is all thanks to Sumbandila. We all look ahead with Tendai and dream of what may still come.

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Tendai Simon

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