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TATA Africa sculpts future for Witsies

- Wits University

The future is beaming bright for 20 academically and financially deserving students who have received scholarships from TATA Africa.

The funding is part of the company’s Postgraduate Scholarship Programme that aims to advance the development of higher education in South Africa. TATA Africa has sponsored Wits students pursuing honours, masters and PhD degrees in all faculties since 2007. To date, TATA has awarded over 240 postgraduate scholarships to four South African universities including Wits University.

Wits University aims to increase the cohort of postgraduate students to 45% by 2022 in an effort to be a globally leading research-intensive university.

At an awards ceremony for the scholarship recipients held at Wits University on 11 October 2018, Len Brand, Executive Director of TATA Africa Holdings said that postgraduate studies “produces better-educated citizens who are equipped to deal with a wide range of challenges and advancements and are more able to compete on a level playing field with countries outside of South Africa”.

2018 TATA Africa scholarship recipients

“Tertiary education also helps to build skills and grow a healthy economy, which in turn benefits everyone, and that is what drives our commitment to the post-graduate scholarship programme. We trust that through Tata’s support and investment in these students, the company has helped pave the way in ensuring that sustainability and greatness can one day be realised,” said Brand.

Like many other scholarships, the funding from TATA has lifted the financial burden that most students have to bear, enabling them to focus solely on their studies without having to work part time to supplement their studies.

For scholarship recipient, Chloé Benjamin, many sacrifices had to be made for her BA Honours studies in Industrial Psychology, including taking out loans to pay for her fees. Her mother, Daphne Benjamin, said the scholarship is “God sent” and would support her daughters dreams tremendously.

“As a single parent, it is difficult to do the things that you really want to do, but my gift for my children was to give them at least a good education. I always said to them ‘I will give you the education, but you do the riches’. I can’t give them money because we don’t have money, but with a decent education, they can get the money for themselves,” said the proud mother.”

The scholarships have ingrained themselves as prestigious awards in postgraduate academia. In addition to the scholarships, TATA contributes to the national objective of increasing the number of women scientists in under-served research areas, through the Women in Science Awards (WISA) programme, a partnership with the Department of Science and Technology.

Professor Robert Muponde, the new Director of Postgraduate Affairs at Wits expressed gratitude to TATA Africa for investing in Africa’s future through the postgraduate scholarships.

“We are in the business of training the mind and sculpting the future, and cultivating talent. I would like to thank TATA on behalf of Wits Management for the commitment they have shown over the years to growing postgraduate scholarship and talent, and their investment in what matters most for a society seeking innovation and renewal at every turn.”

“I sincerely hope that the Tata footprint will continue to be a permanent feature on the paths that we intend to travel in the near future,” he added.

About TATA in Africa

The TATA group began its relationship with the African continent in 1977 with the establishment of TATA Zambia. In 1994, the Tata group inaugurated Tata Africa Holdings in Johannesburg, South Africa, which now serves as the group's headquarters in the continent. Tata is present in over 15 African countries. It operates in engineering, services, telecommunications, information technology, chemicals and materials.

Today, TATA is a brand that's synonymous with quality products and ethical business operations in Africa. It is committed to its vision of building and sustaining relationships in Africa with cooperation and trust, creating employment opportunities and making its contribution to the social development of local communities. TATA companies in Africa promote the social and economic development of local communities through education, entrepreneurship and health.