Every year, many WSU students face the possibility of dropping out because they cannot afford residence fees.
In February, second-year student Sisipho Mdaka was stranded in Grey Street without a place to stay. She had not made the list of students allocated a place in a residence again.
“It was the first day of the academic year. There were many of us with bags out in the streets. We had nowhere to go and we did not know what to do,” said Mdaka.
Many students like Mdaka are left to fend for themselves every year because of the shortage of space in residences.
Last year, Mdaka illegally squatted with friends the whole year. She could not afford private accommodation because financial aid only paid for students who had been allocated a residence.
This year, Mdaka shared a three-bedroom house with 38 other students. They were rescued by Mzimkhulu Madikane who offered his home free of charge.
“We were very happy there. We started to feel like family. There were 38 when we started. Some eventually got places to stay and moved out, but most of us were there the whole year,” said Mdaka.
“He saw to it that we had everything we needed. His parents were also very welcoming when they came to visit. We are thankful for what he did for us. He was God-sent,” she added.
Qhamani Siziba, a first-year student who was also in the house said she had no one to turn to. “It was my first visit to Komani. When he came to take us I did not even know where we were going. There were many of us, but he was very welcoming. He did not even want us to pay because he said he could not take money from students,” said Siziba.
While the students may have received help from the Good Samaritan this year, the same uncertainty remains for next year.
“I decided to help them because of the desperation of their situation. When I spoke to them I realised most of them were sleeping in halls at the school and wash rooms at petrol stations,” said Madikane.
“My uncle moved in this December and he might stay permanently. I have communicated this to them which means there is a possibility we will not be able to have this arrangement again next year,” he added.