Way back in 2006 we received an application for a bursary from a young man who was about to enter his final year in BSc Agronomy at the University of Zululand. Xolani Siboza impressed us with his determination and ability to work hard, and he was awarded a bursary for 2007.
We came to know more about Xolani's story as time passed. Hailing from rural Mpumalanga, Xolani came to the University of Zululand with barely enough money to survive. Not being able to afford enrolment fees, he attended classes with students he stayed with, and completed assignments with them. At the end of the first semester of what would be his first year, he went to see the dean and explained to him what he had done, showing him the completed assignments. The University agreed to give him a scholarship to complete his first year, making it clear that he will have to maintain high academic standards if he wanted to continue further. The hard-working young man achieved what was expected of him and more.
With his Citrus Academy bursary, he finished his BSc degree in 2007, and was keen to pursue his studies further.
It took some convincing, but in the end he transferred to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he worked with another Bursary Fund student, Nhlanhla Mathaba. Xolani completed his Masters degree in Horticulture in 2010, doing research with Nhlanhla (who has also in the meantime completed his PhD) on the mitigation of chilling injury on lemons during cold storage.
Xolani continued his studies towards his PhD in 2011, successfully completing the degree at the end of 2013. During this time he won the 2012 AgriSETA Excellence Award for Best Performing Learner: Bursary, which was handed to him during a glitzy ceremony where he charmed everyone during his acceptance speech – view the photos of this memorable occasion here.
On the 16th of April 2014, Xolani kindly invited Candice Burgin to attend his graduation ceremony, along with members of his family and his significant other. View the full photo album here.
We look forward to seeing you attain even greater heights in future, Dr. Siboza.