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An example for us all

That Thembalethu Seyisi is an exceptional young man is beyond doubt. The star Stellenbosch University (SU) student not only attained his LLB degree last year, compiled a book but is also actively involved with the #Action4Inclusion campaign.

When he turned 21 in 2020, Thembalethu (affectionately nick-named Justice) published the book, 21 Life Lessons @ 21. He approached 21 successful people he admires; high-profile role models, personal heroes and family members to share one life lesson or insight they wish they’d known at 21. The book is a wonderful collection of stories by inspirational South Africans such as Professor Thuli Madonsela, Justice Edwin Cameron, Sandra Prinsloo and his father Sithembiso Seyisi. Part of the proceeds of book sales go to support #Action4Inclusion.

#Action4Inclusion is a crowd-funding campaign to assist students and graduates to pay study fees and debt. Launched in 2020, it was established by the SU Representative Council under the patronage of Professor Thuli Madonsela.

Prof Thuli Madonsela says, “The plight of students who are overwhelmed by university fees debt is of great concern. Many students from under-resourced backgrounds struggle to pay their university fees and are often at risk of dropping out.”

Last week his graduation celebration was held at Middelvlei Wine Estate. It was no ordinary celebration though – it was a fund-raiser for #Action4Inclusion!

Her sentiment is shared by Professor Wim de Villiers, SU’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor. He says, “SU firmly believes that no deserving student should be denied access to higher education based on their financial struggles. SU commits a substantial portion of its income – generated through state subsidies and student fees – to student bursaries each year.

However, the University is experiencing increased financial strain as state subsidies for universities have progressively declined. Significant amounts of outstanding student debt further exacerbate our concerns as we cannot write off the money owed to the University because it is crucial to sustaining our operations. Therefore, contributions to #Action4Inclusion firstly helps talented students overcome financial strain and give them the opportunity to pursue professional careers without the strain of student debt, and secondly ensure SU’s sustainability as an institution.”

The accolades keep coming as Thembalethu was awarded the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Social Impact last year. He is known for his dedication to social justice and tireless efforts to improve the lives of young people. He elaborates, Over the past few years, I have benefited so much from amazing role models in my life. I’m deeply grateful for the unique opportunities I’ve had, such as the Ciucci Bursary awarded by the Stella Foundation, which enabled me to study law at Stellenbosch University.”

“I wanted other young people also to experience the love, grace, and inspiration I have benefited from. Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to have met wonderful people whose experiences are a source of inspiration for young and old in the difficult times we face.”

Thembalethu started working as a candidate attorney at Cluver Markotter Attorneys in Stellenbosch in January.

To donate to #Action4Inclusion go to: www.givengain.com/cc/action4inclusion.

The book can be purchased at www.21lifelessons.co.za.

Contact Thembalethu directly on seyisithembalethu@gmail.com to support any of his initiatives.

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