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Crowdfunding campaign provides hope for students

Written by Allison Cooper

A crowdfunding campaign to provide financial support for creative arts students has already raised over R442 000 of its R3 million target.

The #FamTagYouIt campaign will assist creative arts undergraduate students and graduates with historic debt. The campaign was launched by Fashion Art Music Academy (FAM) and public benefit organisation Feenix.

FAM was founded in 2017 by Laduma Ngxokolo, the founder of knitwear brand Maxhosa Africa; fine artist Nelson Makamo and DJ Black Coffee. The trio kick-started the campaign by contributing to it first. Valentine Maketela is a beneficiary of a crowdfunding campaign that helps students with their university fees.

“We believe in the right to quality education for the African child. Through opportunities in creative industries, this sector will be a sustainable and powerful contributor to the African economy,” says Lungie Maphumulo from FAM.

Feenix was also launched in 2017 and works with all 26 public universities to ensure a future of debt-free education. Through crowdfunding, it has already disbursed over R76 million to 1 910 students’ university fee accounts.

“We believe that access to education should not be dependent on wealth. Our model connects communities, providing a tool for students to formalise their fundraising efforts and a channel for South Africans to find students that they wish to support,” says Feenix CEO Leana de Beer.

Jewellery design and manufacturing student Valentine Maketela is one of the students who have already benefited from the campaign.

“When I heard that my fees were outstanding, I didn’t know what to do. The bursary foundation, which was my only hope, stopped paying. By the grace of God, I got a job. It was not big, but I was grateful and saved every penny,” says Maketela. Sadly, his father got sick and passed away and Maketela had to use his savings to pay for the funeral. “I couldn’t believe it when I got the funding. I am grateful to be able to finish my studies on time, make my mark as a jeweller and make a difference in my community,” he says.

FAM aims to assist creative industry professionals to build lucrative and sustainable business models.

“A good place to start is ensuring they are able to study without worrying about student debt,” says Maphumulo.

To register for funding, students:

  • Must be a South African citizen, registered at a South African public university.
  • Must have current or historical debt.
  • Must have a combined household income below R600 000 per year.   

To register for or contribute to the fund, go to www.feenix.org