College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

Farming community inspires Unisa student to pursue education in agriculture

Agriculture is central to fostering economic growth, reducing poverty and improving African food security. A significant percentage of the rural population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. One such community is the Bokamoso township in Rustenburg, North West Province, where Unisa student Simlindile Ndatsha grew up. Growing up in this farming community, Ndatsha was deeply inspired by the resilience and hard work of farmers who diligently nurtured their land and livestock. He developed a passion for studying agriculture with the aim of investing back in his community.

Ndatsha enrolled at Unisa and obtained a National Diploma and later a Baccalaureus Technologies in Animal Health from Unisa. Subsequently, he pursued a Master of Science in Agriculture and is currently doing a Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture under the supervision of Dr Isidore Houaga and co-supervisors, Prof Ntanganedzeni Mapholi and Dr Lucky Nesengani.


Simlindile Ndatsha

Asked why Unisa is his university of choice, Ndatsha explains: "Unisa offered me the opportunity to study while gaining practical experience in the agricultural sector." He adds: "Unisa's reputation for providing quality education and its long-distance learning programmes were also important factors that influenced my decision." As an open distance-learning institution, Unisa has been a university of choice for generations across Africa, offering affordable quality education. While it is an open-distance institution, Unisa students are never alone as the university has several student support services such as tutorial support, counselling and online tools.

Ndatsha attests: "Unisa has continually provided me with academic support through dedicated lecturers, online resources, and student support services. Additionally, the university offers financial assistance through bursaries, which helps to ease the burden of tuition fees."

Succeeding against odds

While Ndatsha has made significant academic strides, after completing Grade 12, he faced several challenges, including financial constraints, limited educational resources and a lack of mentorship opportunities due to his disadvantaged background. However, determined to succeed against all odds, he relentlessly grabbed every opportunity, including scholarships, bursaries and mentorship programmes.

Encouraging other Unisa students from disadvantaged backgrounds, Ndatsha says: "It is crucial to stay focused on your goals, believe in your abilities, and never underestimate the transformative power of education in your life and community." He concludes: "Seek mentorship and take advantage of every resource offered by the university. For every challenge you face, remain resilient."


* By Kagiso Moroatsehla, Intern Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement


Publish date: 2024/03/06

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