Why We Give

Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA is grateful for the generous support of its donors. Many alumni have provided significant contributions because of the impact Waterford has had on their lives. Read the stories below to learn how these alumni carry their Waterford experience with them, in their decisions, career choices and interactions with others.

Polina Labovskaya (Russia, WK 98 - 01)

Polina Labovskaya (Russia, WK 98 - 01)

Polina is a professional living and working in London, and has long given to Waterford as part of the ‘pay as you earn’ scheme. “It is partly about giving back - I had four wonderful years at Waterford and I want other students to have the same opportunities. It is not just about making life-long friends and a challenging curriculum, there is so much more to Waterford. It is a special place, a safe bubble, that allows students to discover their values and challenge misconceptions so that they can hold their ground once outside WK.”

But more important to Polina is Waterford’s values: “The special thing about Waterford is how it makes its values a lived experience for its students. The campus was a happy melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities, allowing me to make friends from over the world. I also enjoyed doing community service work. Now that I have my own children it is even more important to me that as many young people as possible get the chance to study at a UWC, and come out to improve the world in any number of small or big ways.”

Mandi Mzimba (South Africa, WK 70 - 76)

Mandi Mzimba (South Africa, WK 70 - 76)

For me, life as a student in the 1970s at Waterford Kamhlaba, was the crucible of my becoming. This was a place and a people that created a safe haven to develop and unfurl values, a love of learning and reading, a love of the outdoors and of course, life-long friendships. It is only in retrospect, as I continue to interact with fellow alumni, that I appreciate the depth of the grounding that we received. We carry strong pillars of integrity and respect that give most of us an inner trellis against which to grow shoots in so many new directions, into so many different ventures.

What was true about Waterford then is still true today – I see many young alumni emerge from the same school with the same values and the same resilience. It is nothing short of amazing that the institutional capacity to build whole people, with raw material from immensely different personal backgrounds, has been retained across the years.

This is why I continue to donate to the school, because I am so keenly aware of the societal impact the school has and can continue to have in the future.

Let me add that I also give because I myself was a recipient of someone else’s generosity, someone who donated money so that I could benefit from an excellent education. Investing in future generations is the best legacy to leave, and what better way to do this than through Waterford, leveraging on their expertise and proven abilities to bring out the best in young people.

I invite you to join me.

Kuben Pillay (South Africa, WK 72 - 76)

Kuben Pillay (South Africa, WK 72 - 76)

In the very difficult years for a young South African, 1972 to 1976, my parents through much personal sacrifice, ensured that I escaped the segregated ‘Apartheid education’ of my home country.

I attended Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland. We were up on the top of a mountain. Down below was a small, impoverished village. It did not have a school.Rather than stay above the clouds, our school decided we would come down from our elevated position, get our hands dirty and build a small village school for kids who did not have one.

In 2013 I attended a Waterford 50th anniversary function.

The small village is today a large township. It is still impoverished. It has a school, however – the one built by students from Waterford Kamhlaba.

We got something very special out of this as students. We didn’t need lessons in civics to educate us about the duties of citizenship and the responsibilities owed to wider society. Mixing mortar and laying bricks next to the tumble-down shacks of those villagers near Mbabane gave us insights you never get from a textbook.Outreach nurtures inner values. It produces young people who refuse to remain aloof from social responsibility ... young people who engage problems rather than evade them.These young people may form an educational elite, But they are not elitist!They join with others to make a difference.Build something better for ourselves by all means … but that doesn’t stop us from building a little something for those at the bottom of the hill.

That is the life lesson Waterford Kamhlaba has taught me and many generations since.

We decided therefore as a family in 2013 to sponsor a young lady from Alexandra township in Johannesburg, through her remaining schooling years at Waterford. This year, 2017, we proudly witnessed Kamogelo’s graduation from IB2. No words can even begin to describe our joy at seeing her prepare for university, in the USA.

Worldwide, the independent schools that truly stand out are those that actively demonstrate the public purpose of private education. They bring an extra dimension to the task of turning students into iconic, caring citizens of the world. Waterford is such a school and will remain so, by the grace of God, and the charity of many of you.

It was our beloved Madiba who once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
And when we celebrate our 75th and our 100th anniversary, let it not be said that we missed the moment “TO LEAD OUR SCHOOL ,TO LEAD OUR COUNTRIES , and TO RELEASE THE NEXT MANDELA FROM WITHIN”

Nozipho Hlophe (Swaziland, WK 00 - 06)

Nozipho Hlophe (Swaziland, WK 00 - 06)

I spent seven years at Waterford, and these years shaped who I am today.

What I love about WK is that although the education was excellent, a lot of learning went beyond the classroom. I had my first experience of a truly international environment at Waterford. It was a safe space to learn about different cultures and backgrounds while on equal footing.

This instilled a curiosity in me that made me want to explore the world and seek different perspectives. I was exposed to the injustices in the world and how I can make a positive impact. Waterford also enabled me to study in the UK through the Trinity scholarship.

It was a great privilege to experience life in a fair, unbiased environment where everyone is encouraged to succeed. Waterford is therefore a special place for me.

I give and volunteer for Waterford because I would love as many others to experience that world as possible.

© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2019

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