Home » From rural roots to academic success: Samukelisiwe Nkambule’s inspiring journey with Penreach and Transnet

From rural roots to academic success: Samukelisiwe Nkambule’s inspiring journey with Penreach and Transnet

by Tia

MBOMBELA – Samukelisiwe Nkambule, also known as Samu, has defied the odds and soared to academic excellence, thanks to the support of Penreach and Transnet through the OYEPD programme

Hailing from the rural area of Emgwenya, Samu’s educational journey is a testament to the transformative power of valuable partnerships, education and determination.

Despite facing challenges along the way, Samu, who formed part of the inaugural ten Penreach bursary scholars in 2016, also known as TransnetAmbassadors, sponsored by Transnet, soon found herself blossoming in her new environment, where she received the support she needed to thrive.

Samu’s journey wasn’t just about academics; it was a story of personal growth and discovery. Despite never being exposed to sports before, she quickly excelled on both the soccer and hockey fields. By Grade 9, she was already representing Penryn’s first soccer team, showcasing her natural talent.

Academically, Samu’s achievements are nothing short of exceptional. She was recognised as one of the top 10 most improved scholars between Grade 8 and 11, with an outstanding improvement of over 24%. Penryn College honored this remarkable achievement by presenting Samu with the prestigious Exploding Bucket Award, symbolising her determination, discipline and hard work. In Grade 12, Samu ranked 8th academically and received numerous certificates of excellence.

These awards not only celebrate Samu’s success but also highlight the strong partnership between Penreach and Penryn College.

Fast forward eight years, and Samu’s journey embodies the essence of perseverance and achievement. She is now enrolled in a B Com Honours Degree programme, a graduate of WITS University with a B Com in Accounting and a valued member of the KPMG team.

To date, 43 scholars have been supported by Penreach through the Penreach Bursary programme, with 31 scholars currently enrolled across Penryn College, Acek Academy and Maritzburg College in 2024 on the Penreach Bursary Programme sponsored by Shalamuka Foundation and Raise the Children. 

According to Johanri de Jager, Communication Manager at Penreach, the Penreach Bursary Programme is dedicated to fostering academic excellence and providing holistic support to exceptionally talented and vulnerable youth from underserved communities.

“Samu’s journey is an inspiration to us all. Her resilience and determination in the face of adversity are a testament to the impact of our programme, our partnerships and the dedication of our educators and phenomenal scholars,” says Programme Director, Thuli Makofane.

Samu’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of individuals who believed in her potential. Penreach extends its deepest gratitude to Leticia Mlambo, the scholar’s guardian mother at Penreach, the dedicated teachers at Penryn South Africa, Samu’s family, and her life mentor, Theresa Vivian Moila.

“As we continue our mission to empower the next generation of leaders, Samu’s story serves as an inspiration to countless others, demonstrating that with the right support dreams can become reality.”

If you’re ready to make an impact and be part of this life-changing initiative, kindly reach out to Penreach today. Whether you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, mentor, or volunteer, your contribution can make a significant difference.

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