Chief sets up scholarship for the underprivileged

Source: The Herald

Blessing Karubwa

Bulawayo Bureau

In what could be a first for the country, Chief Dakamela of Nkayi district in Matabeleland North Province has set up a scholarship programme dubbed “Dakamela Education Foundation” to help pay school fees for underprivileged families that fall under his jurisdiction.

In addition to the education fund, the chief has also introduced the “Isibaya se Nkosi”, a programme that seeks to tackle poverty, child marriages, and starvation among his subjects and complements the “Isiphala Senkosi/Zunde RaMambo” concept.

The two programmes were officially launched by the deputy president of the National Chiefs Council Senator Chief Mtshane Khumalo on Saturday at Dakamela Primary School during a colourful ceremony, which was witnessed by 16 chiefs from Matabeleland South and North and the Midlands provinces.

The event was also an award-giving ceremony for individuals and organisations working in the community.

Dakamela Education Foundation is a programme that seeks to fund academically gifted children from underprivileged families.

During the event, 40 organisations and individuals were honoured in recognition of their roles in uplifting lives in the entire district.

Speaking during the ceremony, Chief Mtshane Khumalo hailed Chief Dakamela for breaking new grounds by introducing the two programmes.

He described Chief Dakamela as a hard-working leader and implored other chiefs across the country to emulate his gesture.

“If you ask any of the chiefs in attendance about someone who has done what Chief Dakamela just did or about projects that are practically identical to his. The answer would be a ‘no’ and I hope what we are witnessing here today will inform and inspire other chiefs around the country,” said Chief Mtshane Khumalo.

He underscored the value of peace, love, and harmony among communities, saying those are critical ingredients for development.

“The work that got us here today was made possible by everyone in the community working together. You have a lower chance of success in anything you undertake if you take a position by yourself and isolate yourself from others,” said Chief Mtshane Khumalo.

“As chiefs, we have come to understand the importance of collaborating closely with the villagers, councils, and everyone despite our differences and this is for the good of our communities and the country as a whole.”

Speaking during the same event, Chief Dakamela said the role of chiefs should evolve and focus more on contributing towards empowering future generations.

“Today we are launching Dakamela Education Foundation which is going to help fund education for children from underprivileged families. We have chosen children that we intend to fund and among those are two former Advanced Level learners and two former Grade Seven pupils,” he said.

Chief Dakamela said the two students who completed A-Level will have their university education funded under Dakamela Education Foundation.

“Those who completed Grade Seven studies will be assisted with their secondary school until they get to university as long as they continue excelling in their studies. The beneficiaries of this programme were no longer able to pursue their studies due to financial constraints,” he said.

“We have therefore decided to fund their education through the Dakamela Education Foundation which we are also launching today.”

Chief Dakamela said they have so far raised 12 cows for the Isibaya Senkosi project.

“In addition, we are also launching Isibaya Senkosi sakoDakamela. We have so far managed to buy 12 cows. When people are united and fully committed nothing is impossible,” he said.

Chief Dakamela said he mooted the idea after realising that there were a number of children in his area not attending school despite their academic prowess due to financial constraints.

He said the initiative was also meant to empower the girl child and fight child marriages.

“We also thought of honouring those who would have performed through awards well and this is going to be an annual event. We gave the winners books and uniforms, however, we saw that it was not enough because most villagers are failing to take their children, which is contributing to an increase in the number of child marriages,” he said.

“We will use both Isibaya seNkosi and Isiphala seNkosi as well as donations from well-wishers both local and in the diaspora to contribute towards a better future for our children. We want to have educated children to continue with our legacy.”

Under the Dakamela Education Foundation, the first group of 22 children was selected to benefit from the programme.

One of the Dakamela Education Foundation beneficiaries, 13-year-old Precious Sibanda could not hide her mixed tears of joy and sorrow as she narrated how she lost her mother three years before he father disappeared.

“When my mother died, my father suddenly vanished into thin air, and I was left in the custody of my uncles who are also struggling to make ends meet. I completed Grade Seven and got 20 units and I am now preparing to go to Tohwe Secondary School, thanks to Dakamela Education Foundation and I am so excited and looking forward to fulfilling my dreams,” she said.

During the event, there was an official handover of keys to a two-roomed house that was built for a 70-year-old woman, the first person to benefit from the Dakamela community housing scheme.

Chief Dakamela launched the community housing scheme to benefit the elderly and vulnerable people using funds raised through selling proceeds from Isiphala Senkosi and contributions from locals.

Among those who attended the event were the Minister for Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, Nkayi South MP Cde Stars Mathe, and representatives from the office of Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo


  • comment-avatar
    Kumbs 1 year ago

    Thanks to chief Dakamela
    Great job 👍👌 elder I salute you