Change the world

News

20/04/2018

This article appeared in The Herald on 20 April 2018, written by Devon Koen koend@tisoblackstar.co.za

PASSIONATE about changing lives and becoming an advocate against women and child abuse, the second recipient of the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation bursary has walked a hard road to get where she is.

Zimbini Mnono, 22, originally from Mthatha, said she had been overwhelmed when she heard she was to receive the bursary.

“My intention was not only to apply for the bursary, I also wanted to be part of the foundation,” Mnono said.

She was awarded the R20 000 bursary by the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation at an NMU prizegiving on Wednesday after a private meeting at a residence in Summerstrand.

Last year, Mnono worked with Amnesty International to advocate against women and child abuse and now plans to continue creating awareness and helping others.

“I always wanted to study, not only in the hope of making money, but also to go back to my community and educate people,” Mnono said.

After her first year of studies, the law student had to leave university because she did not have the funds to register for her second year.

“During that gap year, I went to Cape Town and worked as a cashier,” Mnono said.

“That year changed my mentality and I became even more focused on my goals.”

Mnono returned to Port Elizabeth in 2016 to continue with her studies and now plans to do a master’s degree with a focus on family law after she graduates with her LLB degree.

The spokeswoman for the Steenkamp family and foundation trustee, Tanya Koen, said the bursary was a way for the foundation to honour Reeva and her legacy.

“During her lifetime Reeva decided she would educate women and children about abuse and, through the bursary, we can honour her legacy,” Koen said.

Steenkamp, an NMU law graduate, was shot dead by her boyfriend, paralymic athlete Oscar Pistorius, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Koen said the bursary was available to both men and woman who had shown a keen interest in advocating against women and child abuse.

Another criterion considered by the foundation’s trustees was whether the applicant intended to specialise in family law.

“We were blown away by the calibre of the students,” Koen said.

Reeva’s mother, June, awarded Mnono the bursary on Wednesday night.

Speaking on behalf of June, Koen said the Foundation – launched in 2016 – and the bursary was a way for the Steenkamps to come to terms with the death of their daughter and to keep her memory alive.

“June was incredibly proud to award the bursary,” Koen said.

According to Koen, the Foundation is mainly financed by the Steenkamps and those involved in it are all volunteers who do not receive any money in return for their work.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za