Who is Nhlanhla Sibanyoni?

This is Nhlanhla on the right. He is studying a bachelor of commerce degree at UNISWA, which stands for the University of Swaziland. He is beginning his second year. The school year starts in September. He hopes to use his skills in a business capacity. He graduates in 2015.

In his O-levels, he got  English literature (A), Physical science (A), Mathematics (B), English (B), Accounting (B), Business studies (C), Siswati (B) and geography (C).

How many students do you support?

Just one at the moment but if this takes off, I would support more.

For how long have you been supporting this student?

I have supported him all the way through five years of secondary school, since the beginning of 2005.

Why do you have to support him financially?

I paid for him to complete secondary school. Students have to pay for this. It is not free. Up until very recently, even primary education was charged for. 

How do you keep in touch with him?

I use facebook or send smses to his mobile phone. He has access to internet at his university, although the connection speed is slow.

How do you know if he is doing well?

I see the school reports at the end of each year.

He finished secondary school in 2010. How did he do?

He did very well. He passed all his exams and achieved some A grades.

What did he do in 2011?

I paid for him to learn to drive and he passed his driving test. I hoped that this would give him an advantage in later life. He got a scholarship to attend UNISWA, the only public university in Swaziland.

If he is on a scholarship, do you need to still support him?

Yes, I do because the government is notorious for paying the scholarships late or even not at all. The scholarship will amount to EUR 3 per day and the family will undoubtedly need some of this money to pay for school fees for the younger children.

What are the challenges of life in Swaziland?

Food prices have increased at a dramatic rate in recent years. The government has massive debts and has no credit worthiness. The currency is propped up artificially by the South African rand to which it is pegged. It earns most of its money from the SADC customs charges but these have been substantially reduced. Swaziland was warned to reduce its dependence on customs revenue but took little action. Nhlanhla's family are poor and their house, in common with many town dwellers, is a precarious structure made from material scavenged from the locality and built on common land.