We met Fanekhaya Lili in August 2009, when he came and applied for a Receptionist’s position at Coffee Shack Backpackers. He was a very academic applicant and this is his story.

Sustainable Coffee Bay - Fanekhaya Lili

Fanekhaya Lili is a 25 year old male who lives at Mount Packard with his sister-in-law, an uncle and 3 young children.

Fanekhaya’s father passed away in 1998, when Fanekhaya was in grade 7.  Fanekhaya went on to attend Dudumayo Senior Secondary School from 2000 and matriculated in 2003 with a good final result, and a C for maths!  I called the principal of Dudumayo SSS and he advised me that Fanekhaya is a very clever, self-disciplined and dedicated student.  Unfortunately Fanekhaya’s mother passed away in 2002, when he was in grade 11.  After his mother’s death, his older brother, who is working on the mines in Rustenburg, helped to take care of Fanekhaya.

Fanekhaya had a burning desire to study, but there were no funds available for this dream of his.

He secured himself a fixed term contract of employment from July to September 2005 with Teba Development, where he worked as a facilitator on grants, benefits and financial management in Mqanduli.  I called Mr Mkanjeni, his boss at Teba Development, and he said that Fanekhaya performed his job very well, and that he grasped things easily.  He also said that Fanekhaya had a definite ‘hunger for education’.

Fanekhaya was determined to go to university in 2006.  He had managed to save a bit of the money he had made with Teba Development, and he was hoping his brother would supplement his studies.  He enrolled at Walter Sisulu University in Butterworth, as this was the closest university which offered Mechanical Engineering and he also took a NSFAS loan from them.

During Fanekhaya’s first year at Walter Sisulu University, he stayed in the hostel.  His first semester’s(January – June 2006) subjects and marks were:

Communication Skills I                                                      72%

Computer Skills I                                                                    59%

Mathematics I                                                                         86%

Mechanics I                                                                              63%

Mechanical Engineering Drawing I                                 78%

Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering I                    76%

With 3 good passes and 3 distinctions, Fanekhaya was very happy.  When he went home during the mid-year break in 2006, his brother advised him that he would no longer be able to assist Fanekhaya with money towards university.   This troubled Fanekhaya heavily, but he continued with his second semester at WSU.

During his second semester (July – December 2006), his subjects and marks were:

Mechanics of Machines II                                                 not passed

Thermodynamics II                                                             not passed

Fluid Mechanics II                                                                not passed

Manufacturing                                                                        not passed

Ally Cad (computer drawing)                                           passed

Strength of materials                                                           passed

During an in-depth conversation with Fanekhaya, it has been established that his marks in the 2nd semester were low, not due to his not coping with the subjects, but due to the constant financial strain he was under.

Fanekhaya’s brother came home at the end of 2006 and he was not very well.  He advised Fanekhaya that he would no longer be able to support his brother’s education,  and told Fanekhaya that if he wanted to study, he would have to fend for himself.   Fanekhaya felt very abandoned at this stage as he had absolutely no support with regards to his studies.  His student number in 2006 at WSU was 20602944.

He returned to WSU in January 2007 and re-did the 4 subjects he failed in the 2nd semester in 2006, as well as Mathematics II.  When he got his mid-year results, he had passed Mathematics II, got a sub for Fluid Mechanics II, which he re-wrote and then passed, but he had still failed 3 subjects. He was finding it extremely difficult to concentrate on his studies, while his negative financial situation loomed.

In the 4th semester in 2007, (July – December) things went really downhill for Fanekhaya.  All his motivation, enthusiasm and focus had been damaged.  He tried to re-do the 3 subjects he had failed, but by the end of the year, he was feeling so depleted, he did not even go and get his results.

Fanekhaya has been dreaming about studying since then.  He knows that he is capable of mastering a National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering if he does not have the continual struggle of funds, and that is his goal in life at the moment.  When he qualifies one day, he would like to become a machine designer.   He got his drivers licence in March 2009.

During November 2009, Fanekhaya and I spent quite a bit of time together going through and filling out bursary applications.  Fanekhaya also went to WSU in Butterworth, paid his R110.00 and collected his final results.  As he had anticipated, his results were really poor.

Fanekhaya and I met again in mid-December and I advised him that there is an ex-Coffee Shack guest (Kim van Greunsen) who is trying to raise some funds for him in Europe – he was VERY VERY excited about this!

I called WSU in January 2010, to find out the exact amount of money Fanekhaya will need to do his Mechanical Engineering Course, but after being transferred to 4 different people, I still did not have the full answer.  Fanekhaya went to WSU in Butterworth on 28 January to register himself (his brother has agreed to assist him with the R2500 registration fee).  I have asked him to find out the FULL amount of his tuition, boarding etc for this year.  He is going to register for semester 3 of his course and he will carry the 2 failed subjects from semester 2 with him, so he will have a lot of work this year, but I do believe this guy will be successful.  He is very determined and has a super strong drive.

I have advised Fanekhaya that he needs to try and get a bit of help financially for his first semester (if he can) and should he produce good results, we will persevere to get him financial assistance from sponsors.  We will be meeting again at the end of  January 2010. Fanekhaya advised me that he will also source accommodation in Butterworth, as it is much quieter in the lalli’s (villages) than in the university residence, and much cheaper.

We met in early February 2010, and Fanekhaya has regisetered at WSU in Butterworth and will be going to university mid-February.  We are working on collecting funds to assist him.  This is his story so far…..

The story of Fanekhaya Lili
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2 thoughts on “The story of Fanekhaya Lili

  • 19th Feb 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Hi gus , the match has startered the ball is on me (Lili II) , But nothing happened so far all I need is suport up untill the final whisle. I will always be there, see you next time , keep safe.
    Fanekhaya Lili.

    • 31st Jul 2010 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Fanekhaya Lili!

      Good to hear that you are doing well (thanks for your email!) and congratulations for passing your subjects!
      Well done, keep up the good work!

      Take care,
      Kim van Greunsven


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