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The NEHAWU Bheki Mkhize Bursary Fund


Bheki Mkhize was an active trade unionist for many years. In the 1970‘s he moved to Johannesburg from KwaZulu Natal and found a job at Wits University as a security guard. While he worked he studied and attained his matric through a correspondence course. He became a shop steward for the CCAWU and later the SACCAWU and later joined GAWU in 1983 where he played a leading role. Due to his militancy, Wits University sacked him.  The workers came out on strike in his support calling on Wits to appoint for an independent arbitrator. He was reinstated when the findings declared his dismissal to be unfair. He was active in the SA Youth Congress and the UDF.  When GAWU and SA Workers union merged in 1983 to form NEHAWU, Bheki was elected its founding leader. In 1995 he was deployed to parliament as an ANC MP and served on many committees, including the portfolio on labour and public enterprise.

The NEHAWU Bheki Mkhize Bursary Fund celebrates the life of a humble, passionate and dedicated giant of the labour movement. His life reflects his character - an organizer, mobiliser, disciplined and dedicated achiever. His commitment and contribution to the workers’ struggle for freedom and democracy is a shining example of servant leadership, altruism and fearless determination; the pursuit of truth and justice.

In the spirit of keeping the memory of this shining example alive, NEHAWU take pride in offering this education bursary scheme to aspiring Bheki Mkhize’s who strive to work for the future of a bright and hopeful South Africa. It is intended for the upliftment of the NEHAWU family; its members and their children.  To this end, the bursary scheme will extend the reach and the opportunities for its membership.

Students wishing to get a tertiary education will be assisted by the scheme, focused on first year students who wish to pursue careers in public healthcare, human resource development, law and social sciences. In this inaugural year, the bursary scheme will focus on studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, offering nine first year bursaries (one allocation per province). This list will be expanded in future years.

The NEHAWU Bheki Mkhize Bursary Fund at a glance:

The Bursary Scheme has the following features and conditions:

  • All bursaries are non-repayable.
  • NEHAWU members, their husbands or wives, their children and legally adopted children can apply for a bursary.  A valid NEHAWU membership number must be provided and verified to qualify for the bursary.
  • The bursary is paid directly to the educational institution.
  • The educational institution must be registered with the National Department of Higher Education.
  • Each bursary awarded is for the full duration of the first degree. On condition that the successful applicant meets the university requirements for the second and third years of study. 
  • Should the applicant not be successful in any year of study, the scheme reserves the right to withdraw the award for subsequent years.
  • All applicants must have a valid South African ID number.
  • The successful applicant and/or NEHAWU legal guardian will be required to agree to the legal terms and conditions of the scheme.
  • Final academic reports must resemble the results submitted at the time of the application.

During the application evaluation, it may be necessary for an applicant interview with an interview panel. Further documents may be requested after application due date during final evaluation stage.

NEHAWU takes pride in awarding these bursaries to applicants who embody the spirit of Bheki Mkhize; a drive and determination to succeed against the odds, to excel within existing circumstances and to exhibit community leadership at a time when the youth have an increasing social and environmental responsibility. The NEHAWU Bheki Mkhize Bursary Fund is administered by the Tshedza Trust, a NEHAWU Member Benefits Trust.


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