Huawei aims to grow and support ICT skills training and skills transfer in SA through its bursary programme. Picture: SUPPLIED/HUAWEI SOUTH AFRICA
Huawei aims to grow and support ICT skills training and skills transfer in SA through its bursary programme. Picture: SUPPLIED/HUAWEI SOUTH AFRICA

Huawei South Africa has kicked off its Mandela Month programme of supporting youth in information and communication technology (ICT) with a bursary donation of almost R2m to benefit nine academically deserving postgraduate students studying information technology and engineering courses at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). 

Every year SA and the world celebrates Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18 with a call to action to effect positive change. 

“This year Huawei is focused on various ICT skills for youth as we approach the much-talked-about Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital economy,” says Huawei deputy CEO Kian Chen. 

Huawei’s ICT talent ecosystem

The bursary programme is part of Huawei’s wider ICT talent ecosystem, which aims to grow and support ICT skills training and transfer in SA. Last month, Huawei partnered with Wits to launch a free 5G training course for postgraduate ICT students. 

“Wits is an important academic partner for Huawei with a shared vision for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in which technologies like 5G, AI and cloud will shape economic and social development. We want to support students who are studying these courses so that they can positively contribute to growing the local digital economy,” said Chen. 

He added: “We believe that SA’s talented young people have the potential to mature into world-class experts. By enhancing industry–academic cooperation, we, as an international ICT company, hope to make our contribution to achieving the country’s development goals.” 

Wits and Huawei championing research and innovation

Speaking at the bursary awards ceremony, Wits director of postgraduate affairs Prof Robert Muponde said Huawei’s commitment to research and development resonated with Wits’ own vision of creating and championing globally significant research and innovation.  

“Wits has taken the strategic decision to be a 45% postgraduate university by 2022 precisely because of the realisation that the future lies in the hands of those who can create skills that count. Huawei has made a breakthrough with practice that drives conversions of knowledge beyond expectations,” said Prof Muponde.  

He encouraged the bursary recipients to embrace the opportunity to create lasting value, empower others and become innovators. 

A step closer to a childhood dream

For Simamkele Madikwa, a master’s student in project management and construction, Huawei’s financial assistance means she is able to fund her studies, bringing her a step closer to realising her childhood dreams of being involved in infrastructure build.  

“I had no plan of how to pay for my master’s this year, I just had enough to register. It was serendipity that Huawei happened to be interviewing for its bursary programme earlier this year. I tried out and was successful,” she says.

“I come from a rural village near the small town of Matatiele in the Eastern Cape. Growing up I was always fascinated by building and construction. I saw that as a sign of progress and improvement. I am looking forward to bringing connectivity infrastructure to more people in areas like the one I grew up in.”

In 1996, Nelson Mandela told guests at the launch of Academy of Science of SA: “On your shoulders rest the challenge of giving science a face that inspires our youth to seek out science, engineering and technology.”

“Mr Mandela’s words still ring true today, two decades later. Huawei is up to the challenge and looks forward to giving many more young people like Simamkele Madikwa a stepping stone to success so she can make her contribution in ICT,” said Chen. 

For more information, please visit the Huawei website or follow on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This article was paid for by Huawei.

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