NMMU Alumni host send-off for #Trailblazing campaign – over R2 million already raised

BY JESICA SLABBERT - AUGUST 24, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Alumni Association on Tuesday hosted a send-off cocktail fundraiser for the #Trailblazing campaign, headed by the NMMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz.

The #Trailblazing campaign aims to provide funding for academically deserving students. This year the campaign aims to raise R4 million for 160 students at the NMMU, who are struggling to pay their fees and therefore will be unable to graduate.

The selected group of #Trailblazers will fly to Machu Piccu in Peru and scale the historic Inca Trail, which is a 43km hike up a mountain in the forests of Peru, over the course of four days.

An Alumni of NMMU, Dr Bridgette Gasa, will be among the 21 people taking part in the memorable climb up the Inca Trail in Machu Piccu. She is a member of the National Planning Commission of South Africa and was once Chairperson of the NMMU Business School.  

Caption: (From left to right) Dr Bridgette Gasa, Nandipha Jack

Beside her, will be the NMMU Chancellor Santie Botha, Vice-Chancellor Swartz and student representative, Nandipha Jack, who will also be carrying the NMMU flag for their ascent and place it at the peak, once they have reached it to symbolise their accomplishment.

“What we are here about tonight is reflecting on a continuation of a very good initiative. It was started by the VC last year, called Trailblazing for NMMU. When I was asked why I support this I have so many reasons,” said Dr Bridgette Gasa, keynote speaker for the evening.

“I didn’t need to be asked twice, to say yes in partnering with the VC on the NMMU #Trailblazing campaign.”

“As of today, we have raised R2 million for this campaign, so we’re standing on the half-way mark. We don’t believe that it is impossible to reach the target we have set for ourselves.”

The Alumni Association then handed over a large cheque of R150 000 for the #Trailblazing campaign to Bridgette to show their support.

Nandipha, who is a final-year Public Management student and an A-side Netball player at the university, said that she is very proud to have been selected as the flag bearer for this cause.

“I feel very privileged and blessed because this is an opportunity that many students don’t have. It’s an honour for me to be able to raise funds for students; it’s a great opportunity for students to push harder and to carry on with their dreams and to let them know that there is someone who is looking after their dreams,” she told RNEWS.

When asked about the 43km climb, she said that she is a little nervous, but said that she trusts that she will be able to finish the challenge.

“I’m scared because the VC and Dr Gasa have been doing a lot of trail walking, so I am very inexperienced because it’s my first time walking, but I trust myself and trust that I will be able to finish,” said Nandipha.

The team will jet off to Peru on Friday from the Port Elizabeth International Airport, and will begin their 4-day trail on the 1st of September.