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Providing Financial Assistance to Students at Rhodes University 

We live in a country in which access to quality education remains a privilege. Dootch was fortunate enough to attend Maritzburg College and Rhodes University and his passion for both institutions was unrivaled. It was with this in mind that the founders decided that the charity would focus on the provision of financial support to individuals who do not have the financial means to pursue their academic studies. This is a fairly broad focus but given the fact that the charity is in its infancy, the Dootch Fund decided that we needed to be flexible so as to enable us to pursue any worthwhile initiative.

Currently, the Dootch Fund annually provides financial assistance to a deserving post graduate student at Rhodes University. The rationale for choosing this ongoing initiative is as follows:

Selection Criteria

The general criteria for selection of the candidate includes, but is not limited to,  the following:

The Trust pays for all tuition fees for the successful candidate however, at this stage, does not cover living expenses.

The selection of the candidate and the level of funding will be decided at the sole discretion of the Trustees with input from the Trust’s Organisation Committee.

How to Apply via the Rhodes University Website

Follow this link to find out more about how to apply for the Dootch Bursary via the Rhodes University Postgraduate funding page. Click here , follow the link to Internal Postgraduate Funding and scroll down to the section entitled “Dootch Fund – The Dean du Chenne Education Trust” to learn more about the specific application criteria and process.

The next bursary will be awarded for the 2020 academic year. Applications have not yet opened for 2020 but will open sometime towards September/October 2019. Keep an eye on this website and the Rhodes University Postgraduate funding page to see when applications open.

Meet Some of the Dootch Fund Beneficiaries

Mziyanda Mbaba

The Dootch Fund is extremely proud of its first bursary recipient. When Mziyanda met the Dootch Fund Organising Committe, he studying towards a BSc. (chemistry and biochemistry) from Rhodes University and had been provisionally accepted to study a BSc. Hons (chemistry) at Rhodes. Mziyanda completed his Bsc. Hons (chemistry) with the financial assistance of the Dootch Fund and went on to complete his Masters in Chemistry at Rhodes University. He is currently completing his Phd in Chemistry at Rhodes University.

Mziyanda considers chemistry as a powerful tool for harnessing nature for the betterment of humankind and believes that, through research, new advanced medical techniques can be devised or improved upon to fight diseases.

Mziyanda contemplates a career in medicinal chemistry. His quest is to enrich his “chemical intellect” so that he can become a medical researcher, and thus be able to effect change within society.

Gugu Mahlangu

Gugu studied a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rhodes University. With a desire to develop her research skills and a curiosity to explore academic topics related to drug discovery, she applied to study Microbiology Honours.

Gugu applied for the Dootch Fund Bursary, as advertised through Rhodes, and was overjoyed with the knowledge that post-graduate studies would become a reality despite her financial background. Through engagement with the Dootch Fund team throughout her Honours year, frequent check-ins, assistance with issues, mentorship and a great Heritage Day lunch spent with the team and her family, she had the pleasure of experiencing the fun, loving, giving and passionate spirit of the team. Gugu says she imagines the energy to be testament to the late Dean du Chenne, in whose name the Dootch Fund was founded.

Gugu is currently completing her Masters thesis in Malaria Research at Rhodes University. She is most grateful to the Dootch family and friends for their generous contributions and for being part of her experience. As a beneficiary of the Dootch Fund, Gugu has been able to expand her horizons through post-graduate studies.

Gugu has asked that the family and friends of the Dootch Fund continue the great work that they have been doing in order to bridge the divide between access to quality education, and young, talented and deserving South African youth. The Dootch Fund would love nothing more than to honour her request.

Poloko Mosesi

Poloko Mosesi is a driven, passionate, ambitious and determined young woman. She has led a life that is characterized by overcoming obstacles and resilience. She grew up in a rural township in Kroonstad, Free State. She is a graduate of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and completed her undergraduate studies in Political Studies, International Relations and Industrial and Economic Sociology in 2015. She then completed her Honours degree in Economic Sociology in 2016. She is currently doing her final year of her master’s degree. Poloko is a Mandela Rhodes scholar and holds both an academic merit award and academic colours.

While completing her Master’s degree, Poloko was also a volunteer working with Raise the Children, an international non-profit organization.  Raise The Children sponsors high potential orphaned youth from rural parts of the Northwest province, by awarding them bursaries.

Poloko gave much of her year to empower, enrich, mentor and support 18 orphaned learners whom the NGO had awarded bursaries to. Poloko is also a budding social entrepreneur, who just launched her own project, Life after Matric, that works to help grade 11 and 12 learners navigate the transition from high school to the next chapters of their lives. The Dootch Fund could not be prouder of Poloko!

Mbalentle Racaza

Mbalethle is a superstar and recent recipient of the Dootch Fund Bursary. She completed her Masters in Economics (Financial Markets) at Rhodes University.

At the end of 2016, I was eager to pursue my Honours (Economics) degree and that was when I began my search for a bursary. During that time I stumbled upon the Dean du Chenne Educational Trust, on the Rhodes University website. I immediately applied. Navigating postgraduate studies can be quite stressful. The bursary went over and above the monetary benefit to regular check-ins, personal development and career guidance. I can honestly say that I built myself a lifetime`s network of inspiring and generous individuals who are devoted to both education and philanthropy. Dootch`s spirit of Ubuntu is embedded in his family and friends and I`m honoured to have been a recipient of the bursary!”


Neo Ledwaba

Neo hails from Alexandra, Johannesburg. Neo loves technology  and wants to use it to make a difference in his community. The Dootch Fund made Neo`s Honours in Computer Science, which he completed at Rhodes University, financially possible.

Neo says that 2018 was a really interesting and challenging year.

In the words of Neo:

The Dootch fund is more than just a fund, it’s a supportive community that has your best interest at heart and will try to help you as much as possible to further your career. The funding is helping me complete my Honours, however the support system they have in place is helping me get through a very demanding year.  The Dootch fund is an inspiration to keep working really hard and a sign of the greatness that exists in this world. It truly does take a village to raise a child. I will forever be grateful.”


Zanele Toyisi


Zanele Toyisi completed her Honours Degree in Environmental Science at Rhodes University pursuant to the Dootch Fund Bursary in 2019. Zanele is currently enrolled for Masters in Environmental Science at Rhodes University, her Master`s thesis is entitled Knowledge and Concerns  about Global Biodiversity Loss versus Local Biodiversity Loss and she aims to complete her Masters degree at the end of 2021. After completing her Masters, Zanele hopes to either complete her Phd or obtain  employment in either the field of conservation or environmental education.


In Zanele`s words:


“I am forever grateful for receiving the Dootch Fund. Not only did it support me through my finances but the support I got from Tam and you guys was the highlight of being part of the fund. Til today, you have been checking up on me and offering support where you can and I am thankful for that.


Palesa Keneuwe Monkhe


Palesa is currently completing her Honours degree in Psychology at Rhodes University.