Norshya Sonjani Speech

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I am so honoured to be here today. As a first-generation student, this bursary enabled me to achieve so much this year. I was able to unlock my full potential, and all of this was possible because the Russel Bottman bursary unloaded the weight of financial strain off the shoulders of myself and my family. I am someone who believes in self-actualisation and self-development; however, it is important to note that those things are secondary when one is burdened with not knowing where their tuition fees will come from. This year, I was involved in 3 committees: The BA Student Committee as the Vice-Chairperson, the Association of Black Securites and Investment Professionals Society (ABSIP) as the secretary as well as the Academic Affairs Council. Russel Bottman afforded me the opportunity to excel– me along with so many other students.

I am now the Vice-Chairperson of the Academic Affairs Council of Stellenbosch University, another bursar was the Chairperson of the Theology Committee and another was Vice-Chair of the Theology Committee. I say this not to brag, but to show you the calibre of students that this bursary produces. I would not be standing here confidently, and excited at the upcoming academic year without this bursary. We are so grateful, and I believe this encourages other students to realise that there is space for everyone in this university. It does not matter where you come from; you are here and therefore you belong. As such, I would like to thank the partners on behalf of the Russel Bottman Bursary Fund for making this opportunity available for not only myself but all the other students who are here tonight.

A special thank you to

  1. Curatoria of Uniting Reformed Church & Dutch Reformed Church
  2. Beyer Naude Centre
  3. The Bursaries and Loans Office
  4. The Development and Alumni Office
  5. Marketing and Communication
  6. Enovation Digital Marketing Agency
  7. Pilgrimage of Hope
  8. Huis Horison
  9. Our Donors
  10. Parents and Guardians
  11. The Bursary

Thank you for helping to develop and grow this bursary fund over the last 10 years. And a very special thank you to Dr Beryl Bottman for being the driving force behind the bursary fund. This bursary is making a difference in students’ lives and transforming their lives in a considerable way. With that, I encourage you to be a part of this change and support the vision of Dr Russel Bottman. Thank you.