Oageng Mocumi, Gabonthone Rampa and Hanisca Kotze have never met Chris Johnson, but last week he paid their tuition fees for the year.
Johnson read about the students’ plight in a report in City Press last week, which was also published in sister newspaper Rapport.
Johnson, the owner of the Three Rivers Lodge in Vereeniging, donated a total of R150 000 to pay the tuition fees for the three students for the year. He is also the founder of Adopt-a-Student, an organisation that provides support, both financial and personal, to needy students.
“When I read the article last Sunday, I saw these were three students who were not going to give up until they found a solution to their problem,” Johnson said. “These are three students whose families have exhausted all the resources at their disposal to help them study.”
Johnson put his four sons through university and said he understands what parents go through to let their children study.
“It’s not only tuition fees, it’s books and clothes and other necessities as well. If I had to put my children through university today, it would be a disaster.”
Mocumi, who scored distinctions in eight of his 11 first-year modules of his BCom degree, owes the university R57 000. Rampa is studying transport economics and obtained 10 distinctions. He owes R33 000.
Rapport reported that Kotze, a bachelor of education student at North-West University, obtained two distinctions without being able to afford a single textbook.
Upon hearing the news that Johnson would pay his debt, an elated Rampa said: “Thank God for the Good Samaritan. I am so thankful. A week ago, I didn’t know that something like this could happen, the situation was so hopeless.
“The thought of spending the entire academic year at home was unsettling. I spend sleepless nights trying to figure out how to come out of this fix, only to find that God was listening to my prayers.”
Rampa said his single mother, a teacher at Mamonwana Primary School in Madidi, would not have been able to afford his tuition fees because she was still looking after his younger siblings.
Mocumi was equally relieved.
“I am happy, I am very happy. I can’t wait for the payment to come through. I really want to study and finish my degree so that I can amount to something in life.”
Kotze said: “It’s a great weight from my shoulders. The fact that they gave the money, and I don’t have to pay it back, helps a lot.”
Mocumi is not completely out of the woods yet and still worries about accommodation and food for the year. His father, who earns R9 000 a month, cannot afford to pay these expenses for him. His mother is unemployed.
“I am stressed. I am worried about everything. And I am hoping that somebody else will come through for me.”