The jovial Chancellor, accompanied by the Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Puleng LenkaBula, members of the Unisa Management, the Unisa Foundation Board of Trustees and golfers walked the greens for Dr Mbeki’s ceremonial tee-off to signal the start of the challenge.

Under sunny skies more than 100 stakeholders from the private and public sectors formed part of the fourballs competing in the challenge.

The student debt at Unisa is R830 million, which emanates from outstanding fees mainly because students are unable pay for their studies and cannot exit the university system to graduate or proceed to other levels of study.

It is against this background that partnerships and collaborations such as those promoted at the Stakeholder Engagement Challenge are crucial in enabling Unisa’s Student Access for Success initiative, which remains a priority funding area for Unisa.

The golf day culminated in a prize-giving dinner hosted by the VC. She thanked golfers for supporting Unisa and joining hands to share in Unisa’s vision of being the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity.

According to LenkaBula, the unequal distribution of wealth in South Africa means that the haves and the have-nots live side by side. “This,” she said, “becomes the propeller of participation in economic opportunities and using education to help to overcome the divide and improve economic participation.”

“This event,” she continued, “was held to help the most marginalised and struggling students in the university. Since COVID-19 our students have not been able to pay their fees. The economic situation has derailed the majority in our communities and these majorities see universities as spaces for improving and pursuing the education system.”

The event was a remarkable success, and productive partnerships formed on the course will be meaningful to Unisa students and, more broadly, higher education locally, regionally and globally.

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