Change the world


“My granny is my inspiration and motivation”, says 21 year old Avelile Lutho Cishe, a cum laude Forestry graduate from Idutywa in the Eastern Cape. 

“Education was not just a strategy for getting knowledge, but it was a tool to escape poverty at home and in my village”  the young man remarks when asked about his driving force.

Having joined the University in 2018, Avelile always had an eye for gold and an understanding of the importance around seeking knowledge. By quickly forming associations with senior students in his course, he was able to gain deeper insight into the academic requirements, possibilities and challenges. This knowledge equipped him for the next three years of his tertiary education.

Having been the first matriculant from his family, the pressure to excel was evident and he was up for the task. In 2019, whilst completing his experiential training in his second year of studies, he obtained distinctions for all his modules. Last year, despite the global challenges, he did it again - distinctions all through.

However, he’s more than just an exceptional academic, he’s a leader too. At the end of 2019, he was appointed as Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela University Forestry Association then in 2020, he was the Soil Science Supplemental Instructor for the School of Natural Resource Management and Mentor in his Residence. These experiences have equipped Avelile with abilities and skills that reach far beyond any classroom or lecture hall.

“Every time I feel the urge to quit or lower my standards, I just remember the reason I started and get the motivation to continue…” says Avelile who exemplifies the true definition of an ‘all-rounder’.


Contact information
Ms Milisa Piko
Communications Manager: George Campus
Tel: 044 801 5098