A look back at the 2018 Annual Event – Silungile Ncama (Rhodes Scholar)

The Moshal Scholarship Program Annual Event took place from the 31st of August until the 2nd of September. Personally, the excitement of the Annual Event builds up from the day we receive our invitations, and as a result, during the week leading up to the day we are scheduled to depart, there is a high-spirited outburst of excitement. One often finds themselves in the position of little toddlers eagerly ‘counting down the number of sleeps’ left until Johannesburg. This year was no different, and thankfully Rhodes was already on holiday which meant one could be extremely excited and not feel guilty about it.

The Annual Event started off in the early cold morning of Friday, 31 August when we left Grahamstown for PE, the highlight of PE being the experience of travelling in an aeroplane. Fast-forward to our arrival in Johannesburg; we arrived at the Birchwood Hotel and as per Eastern Cape tradition, we were all met and welcomed with extremely warm hugs from a very worried Debra. All the admin got sorted out, and an amazing weekend was due to begin.

My first personal favourite moment was when we all greeted one another and got welcomed by Kate and Jodi. This year we had a moving welcome speech given by Ms Yael Lavie from Israel. The core of her speech spoke to respect; she mentioned that a lot of planning has gone into the Annual Event and it is absolutely important that throughout the weekend, all the students display respect. This is the beautiful thing about being a Moshal scholar, everyone did exactly as they were told and the weekend was one of learning and growth premised on gratitude and respect for one another.

This year all the training we did as senior students was extremely helpful, not only for our immediate use, but also for the long term. I personally feel we in South Africa, have superhero career co-ordinators. Ms Nicole and Ms Serena ensured that the majority of students had vacation work, and as a result throughout the weekend we all got to share our experience of working. We had different panel training and discussions, with all the speakers honing in on the different soft skills and ways in which we can use these as tools to navigate the working world which we are all fast approaching. I speak for all of us when I say, the training and activities which we took part in added value and depth to every single scholar’s life’s ‘survival guide’.

The cherry on top is the Awards Dinner. This year the university performances were all out of this world amazing; every single university went all out in terms of their creativity, effort and thought put in. It was so much fun. Then there was Mr Mzamo Masito, a speaker who left us all in awe. His story was not only life changing, but was one that pushed us all to take a minute to reflect on our own personal journeys and dig deep to continue working hard and overcoming adversity.

Regarding the actual awards, every year we get the pleasure of watching our fellow brothers and sisters get awarded for all their hard work. What makes this extra special, is witnessing other students get to shake Dr Martin’s hand and get a photo with him; this motivates you in whichever year of study you may be in to work harder, so you too can get the recognition and a photo.

The fact that this was my last year as a Moshal scholar and now becoming an alumni, made me appreciate everything on a level I didn’t think possible. Watching how far I have come and how along the way, I gained an extra warm and loving family. The Annual Event is committed to molding each and every one of us, with the enhanced soft skills we learn. As a senior student, about to complete my degree, the Annual Event is a reminder of how far one has come and where one is destined to go, and this we get from the training, the guest speakers and the actual presence of Dr Martin.

Thank you

By Silungile Ncama (Rhodes)