The first South African ‘Moshal Scholars’ event took place recently on Sunday the 23rd of September at Smuts Hall at the University of Cape Town, Moshal’s alma mater. The luncheon brought together some of the best scholars from the country’s most prestigious institutions, including the University of Cape Town; Stellenbosch University; University of KwaZulu-Natal; University of Pretoria; and the University of the Witwatersrand. This was the first of many planned opportunities for students to engage and interact with one another and forms part of the Moshal Scholarship Program’s commitment to build networks for multi-faceted and long term support to its students.
The unique gathering was addressed by guest speaker Dr Max Price, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, who stressed that access to higher education is the single most important intervention in moving people into a middle class environment. Dr Price praised the efforts of the Moshal Scholarship program, highlighting that it not only provides many young people with the prospect of further study but also allows universities to raise the quality of the education they provide to that of ‘world class’ by funding the fees.
Program Founder Martin Moshal then spoke to the enthralled audience, telling the story of his rise to success from his days at the local Jewish school in Durban to his university years and business accomplishments. Moshal stressed that education cannot be taken away from a person and urged his scholars to use this time in their lives to, “soak up knowledge like a sponge”. Although success is generally measured in financial terms, Moshal felt that, “all we can ever own are the good deeds we have done … success should be measured by what you do in the world”. Moshal also spoke on the impact of the program on his own life, how the students had inspired him to do more and assisted him achieve his own version of success by allowing Moshal to make a difference in people’s lives.
Moshal Scholars then had the opportunity to address their peers and the invited guests, with many wishing to personally express their thanks to Moshal and tell the audience what the scholarship meant to them. “The Moshal Program said to me, ‘If you believe in yourself, then I will believe in you’”, said one young student studying for a Bachelor of Commerce degree with hopes of becoming a Chartered Accountant. Another student quoted that ‘gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind’, to describe his appreciation to the Moshal Scholarship Program. “Young people today are criticized for taking things for granted … but this gift will keep on giving – for me, my own children and my patients”, said the young man who is currently studying to be a paramedic.
The ethos of the Moshal Scholarship Program is to make a difference to as many lives as possible. "There are no strings attached to the Scholarships. Pay it forward," Moshal told the crowd, “wherever and whenever you have the opportunity to help others. It doesn't have to be in money. It can be in time, advice or effort”. Moshal also used the occasion to pay tribute to the efforts of the Moshal Scholarship Program staff, namely President Kate Kuper and South African Program Director Jodi Bailey, for making the program one of the leading foundations of its kind.