Dr Dumisile Hlengwa, Sazi Thema, Robert Thema, Dr Reginald Thabede and Dr Lavern Samuels

After demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities and maintaining a good academic record, Robert Thema, a Bachelor of Technology student in Tourism Management will travel to London this month after receiving the prestigious Abe Bailey Travel Scholarship.

Thema celebrated his achievement alongside his father, Sazi Thema and current classmates, during the Celebratory Tea which was organised by the Office of International Education and Partnerships (IEP), held at Riverside Campus on Monday, 05 November 2018.

The Abe Bailey Travel Scholarship was established in terms of the Will of Sir Abe Bailey who died in 1940. The Trustees of the Abe Bailey Trust make funds available for travel bursaries known as the Abe Bailey Travel Bursaries. These Travel bursaries give selected University student and University staff of junior lecturer status an opportunity to visit the United Kingdom.

Providing insight on the scholarship, the Director for DUT International Office and Partnerships, Dr Lavern Samuels described the scholarship as a unique opportunity, while mentioning some of the previous recipients.

“This is not an ordinary scholarship. Previous winners of the Abe Bailey Travel scholarship have went on to do big things. One of the finest academics this country has produced, Professor Phillip Tobias, who was my Professor when I studied at Wits, and is among the previous winners of this scholarship. Judge Richard Goldstone who served as the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry regarding Public Violence and Intimidation from 1991 to 1994, is also a previous winner,” said Dr Samuels.

With his vast leadership experience, Thema has previously led the Education and Transformation portfolio in the SRC and says that experience allowed him to impact the communities by creating a culture of learning.  “I was involved in trying to market DUT to the communities around us. So, I formed part and parcel of the career resource development campaigns when DUT was recruiting new learners,” he said.

Thema was also part of the International Centre of Nonviolence (ICON) leadership Programme in 2017; an initiative which he says broadened his leadership qualities.

“That programme is solely designed to capacitate leaders and it gave me the confidence to see myself as a leader upon completion. Mr Crispin Hemson was facilitating that entire programme throughout the year and he played a very vital role in making us to be able to see ourselves as leaders and to walk confidently,” said Thema.

The Head of Department: Ecotourism, Dr Dumisile Hlengwa described Thema as a consistent student, whose leadership capabilities has shone in various positions he has held, while putting the department on the map.

“Robert is a wonderful student.  He is a leader and very consistent. His achievement means a lot for our department. Sometimes as staff we beat ourselves a lot.  We don’t see how much we are actually doing, but when things like this happens, then you realise that you  are doing so much, you are grooming leaders and you are influencing the students in the right direction,” said Dr Hlengwa.

The selected Travel Bursars from various South African universities will gather in Cape Town on 26 November 2018, spend three days for orientation and depart for Addis Ababa by air on 29 November 2018 and then on to London. The tour will officially end in London on 22 December 2018 with returning flights arriving in South Africa on 23 December 2018.

Pictured: Dr Dumisile Hlengwa, Sazi Thema, Robert Thema, Dr Reginald Thabede and Dr Lavern Samuels.

Sandile Lukhozi

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