A couple from Bellville have donated a block of 30 two-bedroom flats to the University of the Western Cape in response to the student accommodation crisis.
This is not the first time Solly Nagdee and his wife, Khairu, have helped the university. In 2013, they donated vacant plots near the campus to UWC.
“We give to various causes, but education is at the forefront. We are aware of the struggles the university and students face. Too many students de-register because they cannot afford the cost of accommodation and transport,” said Mr Nadgee.
Mr Nagdee started working as a store manager for Total Oil Johannesburg in 1963, and made a successful bid for a Cape Town petrol station that “wasn’t doing too well”. Three months later, Modderdam Motors was one of the biggest-selling petrol stations in South Africa.
He settled in Bellville South when he got married two years later, and, in 1966, he made a bid for another Total petrol station, Klipfontein Motors in Athlone, that was also not doing well.
He turned that business around too, and in 1972 he was hailed as the top Total dealer in the country.
“As businesspeople in Bellville South for over 50 years, this is where we successfully traded and we cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of our community,” said Mr Nagdee.
Ms Nagdee added: “My husband and I believe in education, and its power to uplift communities, and we felt we wanted to help alleviate some of the burden resulting from the legacy of apartheid.”
In the next few weeks, UWC will announce other infrastructural developments to ease the shortage of student accommodation.
The UWC/SABC #AccessToSuccess campaign was launched in August to raise funds for “missing middle” students, who are too poor to pay tuition fees but too rich to get state support. The campaign complements UWC’s SRC-led Ikamva Lethu – Our Future Fund, which helps academically deserving students finish their studies. The SRC wants to raise R15 million through that campaign for bursaries, study materials and food subsidies.