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Bursaries for children of MK soldiers

Written by Noluthando Mkhize
The future looks bright for 18-year-old Manala Mandisa Tyodeka a Grade 12 pupil at Christ Church College in Johannesburg.

She is one of beneficiaries of the Department of Military Veterans and Paramount Group’s high-tech skills transfer programme.

Paramount Group is Africa’s largest nongovernment- owned defence and aerospace manufacturer.

As a result of the partnership between the two organisations, Tyodeka who is currently writing her final matric exams, will now have an opportunity to study towards a degree in actuarial science or mathematical science.

Tyodeka’s father used to be a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe during the struggle for freedom.

Tyodeka says she is proud of her father for his contribution to a free South Africa but more importantly, because of his efforts she has been handed great opportunities.

“I am really honoured and excited to have received this bursary. I am also grateful that because of the battles and hardship that my dad and his colleagues encountered I have so many opportunities that would not have been afforded to me in the past.”

Tyodeka received a full bursary, which means her tuition, books and accommodation will be taken care of.

Young descendants of military veterans, identified by the department, will through a programme of bursaries for tertiary education placements and on the job apprenticeships, work with employees of the Paramount Group to ensure their knowledge and world-class skills are passed on to the next generation of South Africans.

The programme that supports Paramount Group’s existing internal initiative to invest in its current workforce, is funded by the Paramount Group Trust and ensures that the majority of a third of all company profits made in South Africa are spent on education and skills development for descendants of military veterans.

The Trust, together with the department, identified opportunities to transfer core skills to the next generation in order to ensure the defence industry’s sustainability.

“Veterans have made a huge contribution to this country and need to be recognised and valued for the role that they have played. It is our obligation to support their descendants and give them an opportunity to secure their own futures and make a contribution to the future of this industry,” said Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group.

“The South African defence industry is generally characterised by an aging workforce. For it to be sustainable it needs skills transfer, conducted in a long-term, structured and controlled manner that benefits the entire country.”

“Through this programme and in partnership with the Paramount Trust, there will be an investment in skills and it will additionally uplift the military veterans’ family units which have up until now been mostly neglected by the industry,” said the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kebby Maphatsoe.

Those taking part in the programme will be equipped with the high-tech knowledge based skills required to keep Paramount Group and South Africa at the forefront of the global defence industry.

The chairman of the Paramount Group Trust, Dr Mathews Phosa said: “Military veterans have been the key to the successful transformation of our country. This initiative will go a long way to recognising their role and to enabling their descendants to benefit from the sacrifices they made; to build a future for themselves and to play a role in driving this strategic industry forward.”

Tyodeka said she was most excited apart from receiving the bursary, she would be able to work with people in industry of study during the holidays.

Department of Military Veterans contacts: 0800 232 344