Scholarship Fund

Sustainable Coffee BayThis is a fund which sponsors local students to complete their grades 10 to 12 at St Johns College, an academic high school in Mthatha, a city 100km west of Coffee Bay. Due to our rural education system not being on par with the education offered in the cities, we are trying to increase the number of students from our area to have the opportunity of gaining a good grade 12 (matric) result and attending university.  We currently have 8 students sponsored at St Johns College. Click on the heading to read the history of the Scholarship fund and follow our blog for the latest updates and goings on.

The story of the Scholarship Fund

The Coffee Shack High School Scholarship Fund

The Coffee Shack High School Scholarship fund was started in 2004, because the closest high school to Coffee Bay was (and still is) 20km away, and the majority of the families in the area could not afford the transport or boarding fees involved. This has resulted in many, many children from the area having left school at the end of grade 9.  Numerous households survive on only government grants or on one income to support a very extended family and these factors built a very good reason for starting the Coffee Shack Scholarship fund.

Coffee Shack believes very strongly in education and we wanted to assist children from the local area to develop a desire for education, realise the value of education and then use that education for further studies or for employment.

During the first few years of the scholarship programme, the students were selected on family background, finances and grades.  The selected students were always children that would otherwise not have had the opportunity to attend high school.  Through our continued networking and fundraising efforts, the scholarship programme grew to accommodate 10 students being sponsored in 2007, using 5 different schools.  This involved an immense amount of co-ordination and hard work on our part, as food shopping had to be done for the children and the food had to be dropped off at the various homesteads in several villages.

The students at the time were boarding with a range of people, and judging from their report cards, there was far too much freedom being had, and not enough studying being done.  The parents of the students did not supply any boundaries or assert any discipline. Unfortunately, at the end of 2007 a number of students had to be suspended from the programme because of poor grades and pregnancy.

A free school bus was introduced into the area at the beginning of 2008, which enabled many more children from the local area to now attend high school.   We re-looked at the scholarship programme and decided that we had to find a good quality school with boarding facilities for our students, where they could study in an appropriate environment.  We checked the various high schools in Mthatha, and St Johns College was selected as the preferred school for the Coffee Shack Scholarship fund from 2008.  St Johns College is an academic school, meaning that maths and science are compulsory subjects.  The school has a good code of conduct and strict rules and with this, we were confident that we would reach our goals with the students and that university could be the next step for them.  Since 2008, students have been selected for the scholarship programme based on their academic results and their family finances.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child or donating towards the Scholarship fund, here are some of the available options:

Sponsor a student for the full senior period of 3 years
R24 000.00
Sponsor a student for 1 year
R8 000.00
Make a once-off donation to the programme
Sponsor a term’s boarding fees for a student
sponsor a piece of uniform for a student (see uniform list)

What many people do is get a work group/school group/family or friends together to share the expenses.

If there is any other information you would like to know about the Scholarship fund, or how you could do fundraising for it, please contact Dawn, the Coffee Shack community projects co-ordinator.

Uniform and school prices as at January 2010

School bag R100.00
School shoes – boys R150.00
School shoes – girls R150.00
School socks R20.00
Tunic R150.00
Long trousers R100.00
Belt R80.00
School shirt R80.00
School tie R35.00
School jersey R100.00
Society t-shirt R150.00
School blazer R700.00
School fees (annually) R1750.00
Boarding fees (annually) R3000.00
Pocket money (annually) R600.00
Transport (annually) R200.00
Tours and excursions (annually) R2000.00
Stationary start-up kit R400.00


The Coffee Shack Scholarship Fund students since inception:

1. Sonwabo Nokhenyana – sponsored by Christine Jonkers and Jeremy Schurch (2004 – 2006)

Jeremy and Christine were our first sponsors.  They were guests at Coffee Shack in 2003 and they sponsored the first scholar, Sonwabo – a delightful, energetic young man when he first entered the programme.  Sonwabo attends Dalibaso SSS and had a difficult latter part of the year at school in 2004, when the village he was living in was under attack from a group of criminals, who would terrorize the student houses, shooting at the boys, raping the girls and robbing the houses.  Sonwabo would often return to his student rondawel after coming home for the weekend, to find all his food and clothing stolen.  One night criminals attacked the house where he and his sister were staying, and they had to flee out the window.  All this was happening during the year end examinations, yet Sonwabo came through with a passing grade.  Sonwabo received an award during the first half of the year for leadership qualities, but started becoming a bit of a problem towards the end of the year.  But the conditions of living with other young students, with no adult supervision, cooking for yourself, sending yourself off to school and no-one ensuring that homework is done at the age of 16 is quite a task.  Sonwabo’s 2005 year end report was terrible, failing most subjects, but somehow getting promoted to his final year.  Sonwabo dropped out of school this year….his final year!  It was heartbreaking for Belinda, and she initially took it as a personal failure, but then realised you can’t get everything right!

2. Khanyisa   – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2004)

Khanyisa attends Dalibaso SSS and comes from a very difficult background as she is one of 8 children from a single parent, with no family income.  Khanyisa lost her scholarship after falling pregnant at the end of 2004, her first year.  This was a very difficult decision, as Khanyisa has no role model at home and she is the oldest of the 8 children, having a newborn sister too.  It is very hard to expect a girl of such an impressionable age to make good decisions.  In retrospect, we maybe should have made a different decision.

3. Nompumelelo Rixi – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2005 – 2007)

Nompumelelo attends Dudumayo SSS and is living with a family to whom a monthly boarding fee gets paid.  Hence she has some supervision, her meals are taken care of and she is in a safe environment.  Nompumelelo is quite an achiever and is a delight.  Mid term results in 2005 were appalling (as were most students).  She did quite well in her 2005 year end results and finished with a passing grade. During her 2nd year on the programme, she attained a 47.6% aggregate in the year-end exams. Nompumelelo wrote her final exams this year and matriculated.  She tried to get entrance to a tourism course in East London, but did not secure a place.  She has now secured a Tourism bursary for herself at the South African College of Tourism for 2010 through Coffee Shack.

4. Thamara Hambisa – sponsored by Dirk Mackau (2005 – 2007)

Thamara attends Bazindlovu SSS and shares a rondawel with her brother on the property of Mrs Thali (an ex-school teacher).  Thamara just scraped through the year-end exams for 2005. At the end of  Thamara’s 2nd year on the programme, she got  35.8% aggregate in her year-end exams.  Belinda had several meetings with Thamara during the course of 2007,   as she had heard rumours that Thamara was pregnant.  Thamara assured Belinda that she was not, but she gave birth mid-way through her final exams and did not complete them.

5. Ikhona Sethe – sponsored by Dez and Shirley Spalding (2005 – 2007)

Ikhona is a vivacious young girl who has very high ambitions.  Ikhona attends a private school in Umtata and her scholarship is a bit different.  She receives an annual grant of R5000 which Belinda administers for her.  Her school fees are extremely high and the uniform is expensive, so with only a small amount left of the grant for food and monthly expenses, her mother is responsible for these expenses. Ikhona was quite ill during the early part of 2005 and this may have played a part in her poor performance with her mid-year results.  Ikhona was absent often during the latter part of the year and after many counselling sessions with her, Belinda still couldn’t work out if Ikhona was actually sick, homesick or being bullied at school.  Ikhona requested to change schools at the end of 2005, to a school closer to home.

Ikhona attained a 43% aggregate in her 2006 year-end exams.

Ikhona’s mom passed away during 2007 and Ikhona was basically looking after herself.  Belinda has been getting reports about Ikhona not attending school, drinking and misbehaving.  Belinda had spoken to Ikhona at the end of 2006 and told her that she was no longer welcome on the programme, as Ikhona was displaying blatant disrespect for the principles we stood for and this may set a precedent for the other students.  Belinda had a meeting with Ikhona during the year  and told her she would give her one more chance.  Ground rules were laid down!   Ikhona was an ongoing battle during 2007 and was suspended at the end of 2007 for poor grades.

6. Lazaro Thintelo – sponsored by Coffee Shack ( 2005 – _

Lazaro left Coffee Bay JSS without his leaving certificate.  Now at age 27, he is eager to gain his matric certificate so that he can become a tour guide, and he approached Belinda for help.  Lazaro is not on a full scholarship, but Coffee Shack pays his school fees, and he gets a small allowance to help with rent and food.  Coffee Shack decided to help Lazaro because of his drive, determination and humility in going back to attend school with children 10 years his junior!

His mid-term report showed that he is struggling with some subjects, but Belinda believes that because of his determination he will put in more effort in the 3rd term.  Lazaro passed the year end exams for 2005, but his results were not very good.

Lazaro completed his grade 11 and passed.  He went through to grade 12, but unfortunately did not pass his final exams.

7. Nosisi Devethi – sponsored by Tjitske Mussche (2006 – 2007)

Nosisi attends Zamakulungisa SSS and her home is on the hill just behind the Bomvu store.  Those of you who have been to Coffee Bay may remember the man on the beach collecting sand with his donkeys, that is Nosisi’s father.  She is boarding with a teacher from Coffee Bay JSS.  Nosisi wants to be a nurse and would like to move to the city.  In her 2006 year-end exams, Nosisi attained a 39% aggregate.

Nosisi produced dreadful results of below 30% aggregate in the 2007 year-end exams.  She has been suspended from the programme.

8. Nomzekeliso Magxebhotile – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2006 – 2007)

Nomzekeliso is one of 10 siblings in a single parent family.  She achieved very good results in her mid-year report in 2005 at Coffee Bay JSS.  She attends Holomisa SSS in Mqanduli, 60km from Coffee Bay.  She will be staying with a family friend who works in Mqanduli.  Nomzekeliso achieved good results in her 2006 year-end exams, with a 56% aggregate.  She is extremely dedicated and has turned out to be the best student on the programme.  Belinda has high hopes for her.  Nomzekeliso was named as the star student last year, but was expelled early in 2007 due to pregnancy.

9. Sikonathi Nkantsu – sponsored by Bill and Liz Tracy (2006 – 2007)

Bill and Liz have been to Coffee Shack twice and are sponsoring Sikonathi.  She attends St Johns College in Mthatha and will be a weekly boarder.  On weekends, she stays with her mother and 5 siblings. Sikonathi has expressed interest in becoming a doctor. During 2006, Sikonathi had a very troubled year at school, so she moved to an aunt in the township for a term. She managed a 50.5% aggregate in the 2006 year-end exams. Sikonathi changed schools at the end of 2006 and will be living at home in 2007 and travelling daily to Dudumayo SSS.  Belinda had struck a deal with Sikonathi, that she could change schools at the end of 2006, but in return, she had to get a 60% aggregate in 2007.  Belinda had based this on the fact that with such a troubled year, Sikonathi had still managed to get 50.5%, so with a way less troubled year ahead, she could easily manage a better result.  Belinda also made Sikonathi responsible for buying her own new school uniform, but said that if she got the 60% aggregate, we could look at reimbursing her.  However, Sikonathi’s 2007 year-end exam results were not up to standard and she has been suspended from the programme.

10. Tom Mandla Qethu – sponsored by Pete Field (2006 – 2008)

Pete Field is a regular visitor to Coffee Shack and started sponsoring Tom in 2006, shortly after Tom’s mother passed away.  Tom attends Upper Mpako SSS and he passed Grade 10 with a 48.5% aggregate in the year-end exams in 2006. Tom passed grade 11 in his 2nd year with over 50% aggregate.  Tom experienced another loss this year, when his sister passed away. Tom matriculated at the end of 2008.

11. Bethuel Dotyeni – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2007 – 2009)

Bethuel is attending Holomisa SSS in Mqanduli.  He is one of 4 children, and his mother is unemployed.  His father is in Rustenburg looking for work on the mines.  Bethuel would like to become a doctor when is finished school.  In his first year on the programme, he did very well with grades in excess of 60% for his 2007 year-end exams, despite the teachers strike and the fact that he had no physics classes.  Bethuel asked Belinda if he could change schools at the end of 2007, as he was not happy with the teachers at Holomisa SSS.  He is going to attend Zamukulungisa SSS from 2008, as St Johns College only takes students in grade 10.  Bethuel has guaranteed Belinda a 70% mid-year exam result for 2008, and in exchange Belinda will buy him a blazer.  Unfortunately Bethuel did not make the 70% mid-year grade, but got 45%.

In his year-end exams in his 2nd year on the programme, he got 47.5%.

Bethuel is doing his matric this year (2009) and is struggling with maths and geography.  He got 37% aggregate for his mid-year exams.  Bethuel passed his matric exams at the end of 2009, and is now checking what the FET college at Mapuzi offers.

12. Zanele Mhlanento – sponsored by Sandra Tracy Trust (2007 – 2009)

Zanele is attending Zamukulungisa SSS close to Mthatha. She is one of 5 children; her mother is unemployed and she has no father.  At the end of the 1st year on the programme, Zanele passed through her year-end exams with just over 50% aggregate.    Zanele’s grades did not improve during her 2nd year on the programme, but she did manage to pass.  Zanele was suspended from the programme in March 2009 for falling pregnant.

13. Mawethu Nkobezemfe – donations from Sarah Frere-Cooke and Lieve de Coninck and Anna (2007)

Mawethu was from Pato JSS and is attending Dudumayo SSS.  He is one of 5 children and both his parents are at home, unemployed.  Mawethu would like to become a policeman after school.  Unfortunately he failed to attend any meetings for the first half of the year and he struggles a lot with English.  He was suspended from the programme at the end of 2007 for bad grades.

14.  Khanyisa Nyubatyha – donations from Courtney Huggy Smith, Chris Hattam, Chris Smith, Morwood grandchildren (2008 – 2010)

Khanyisa is one of 2 children and he has a very ill mother.  He has no father.  Khanyisa would like to become an electrical engineer when he finishes school.  During the first year at St Johns College, he attained a 41.1% aggregate in his mid-year exams and is struggling with biology.  He got 47.5% aggregate for his December exams and passed all his subjects.  We have realised that the first year at St Johns Collge is really difficult for the students, as there is a major difference between a rural junior secondary school and a city college.  We will monitor and motivate the students as best we can.

Khanyisa’s June 2009 report reflected a 46.1% aggregate and he is struggling with maths and science.  He is attending extra classes for these subjects.

15. Sandi Tshemese – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2008 – 2010)

Sandi is one of 7 children;  his mother has a short contract with the mussel project and his father has gone to Johannesburg to look for work.  Sandi indicated that when he finished school he would like to study to become a civil or electrical engineer.  During his first year at St Johns College, he attained a 34.4% aggregate in his mid-year exams and is struggling badly with biology, geography and science.  For his December exams, he got 42.1% aggregate and did not pass geography. He is staying on the programme.

During the 2nd year, he attained a 39% aggregate for his mid-year exams and is now only struggling with science.

16.  Songezo Krwexeysha – sponsored by Sandra Tracy Trust (2008 – 2009)

Songezo is one of 4 children;  his mother is unemployed and his father left the area 11 years ago.  Songezo (Songs), as he is nicknamed, says that he is going to become the Premier of the Eastern Cape one day, so that he can bring jobs to the area – nice goal Songs!  During his first year at St Johns, he attained a 36.7% aggregate in his mid-year exams and is struggling very badly with maths.  Biology and science are also proving to be difficult subjects for him.  For his December 2008 exams, he got 40.1% aggregate and is still struggling with maths.   He is staying on the programme.  During his second year on the programme, Songs got 41% aggregate for his mid-year exams, but his maths and science marks are really bringing down.  He is attending extra classes for these subjects in the 4th term.  Unfortunately Songezo did not pass his final exam in grade 11, so he was removed from the programme at the end of 2009.

17.  Hardy Gaqa – sponsored by Danny Whitley (2008 – 2010)

Hardy is one of 4 children;  his mother has a casual job as a domestic worker and his father is unemployed.  Hardy came from Pato JSS and his goal is to become a doctor one day, so that he can take care of people’s wellbeing.

During his first year at St Johns College, Hardy attained the highest aggregate of all the students, a 51.5% aggregate for his mid-year exams and a 60% aggregate for his December exams.  Hardy is not struggling with any subjects and is a hard worker at school.

During his second year on the programme, he attained 60.8% aggregate for his mid-year exams and got 70+% for Life Orientation, isiXhosa and Biology.  Hardy is currently our top student.

18.  Noluvo Vulindlela – sponsored by Torsten Tabel  (2009) and Christian Andreas (2010)

Noluvo is one of 4 children and her mother has a cooking job at the local school.  She has no father.   Noluvo is doing the Tourism stream at St Johns College and for her first mid-year exams, she got 41.8% aggregate and is struggling with maths and science.  She is attending extra classes for these subjects.

19. Aphiwe Sinyeke – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2009 – 2011)

Aphiwe is one of 6 children.  Her mother is unemployed and her father is in Johannesburg looking for work.  Aphiwe is doing the Tourism stream at St Johns College, and for her first mid-year exams, she got 44.8% aggregate and is struggling with maths and science.  She is attending extra classes for these subjects.

20.  Zukisa Sotomela – sponsored by Sandra Tracy Trust (2009)

Zukisa is one of 5 children and his mother is a waitress at the Ocean View Hotel in Coffee Bay.  Zukisa is doing the Tourism stream at St Johns College, and for his first mid-year exams, he got 37.8% aggregate.  He is struggling badly with maths, science and biology and went to school during his 3rd term break to attend extra classes for these subjects.  Unfortunately Zukisa did not pass his December exams at the end of grade 10, so he was removed from the programme at the end of 2009.

21. Avela Mnukwa – sponsored by Brett Scott (2010 – 2012)

Avela is one of 2 children and his mother is a receptionist at the Coffee Bay Hotel.  He does not have a father.  Avela would like to study Accounting after school, so that he can become a Chartered Accountant.  He is taking the Geography stream at St Johns College, although the poor guy has never done Geography as a subject!   Avela’s grade 9 mid-year results look promising, with him having attained 81.4% aggregate at Coffee Bay JSS.

22. Nosiphelele Zimele – sponsored by Coffee Shack (2010 – 2012)

Nosiphelele is one of 4 children;  her mother is unemployed and receives a state pension.  She has no father.  Nosiphelele would like to study to become a doctor after school.  She is taking the Agriculture stream at St Johns College.  She attained 65.1% aggregate in her grade 9 mid-year exams at Coffee Bay JSS.

23.  Sibonisiwe Hambisa – sponsored by Sandra Tracy Trust – (2010 – 2012)

Sibonisiwe is one of 7 children;  she has no parents and lives with a godparent, who gets a medical grant from the government.  Sibonisiwe would like to study medicine in Mthatha after school, so that she can become a doctor.  She attained 76.4% aggregate in her grade 9 mid-year exams at Coffee Bay JSS.  Sibonisiwe is taking the Tourism stream at St Johns College.

One thought on “Scholarship Fund

  1. Wow just heard about this now as I was looking for scholarships for high school. And I can relate to these stories I am also struggling to finish ma studies and migh drop out

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