Celebrated Cape Town-born musician Jimmy Nevis' Blue Collar Foundation (BCF) has paved the way for yet another young person to fulfil their dream of completing their university studies, while at the same time about to launch the #1to100 campaign that aims to help 100 students study further.
The BCF, in partnership with the Geness Foundation, has stepped in to help fund 2018 beneficiary Tevin Goodwin, who will be studying towards a Bachelor Degree in Social Sciences at the University of Cape Town.
Blue Collar, a song written by Nevis, captures the sense of hope among blue-collar workers in Cape Town's marginalised areas and is deeply rooted in the struggle for a better life for the next generation. According to Nevis, the BCF was set up in response to the youth of Cape Town's burning desire to learn.
"Our main focus is to encourage the youth to dream beyond their circumstances and believe in themselves. The youth of June 16, 1976 stood up and changed the course of history in South Africa, and we believe that this generation has it within them to drive our country forward, and progress in a world rich with opportunities," Nevis said.
One of the initiatives is the J Nevis Bursary, which funds a student's higher education studies with the help of donors and supporters.
Goodwin's majors are political science, linguistics and Spanish. "I aspire to be a diplomat, forensic linguist or a foreign correspondent," said Goodwin, who never thought studying towards a degree would be possible considering his circumstances.
"Honestly, the chances of me being able to afford to pursue my tertiary education in 2018 would have been rather slim, if it was not for the scholarship. My mother was involved in a freak motorcycle accident which rendered her unable to work and her insurance policies did not cover all her expenses. I despaired because I knew the odds were against me as far as studying in 2018 was concerned. There were bigger fish to fry," said Goodwin.
Co-founder of the Geness Foundation, Dr Sheena Geness and her husband Sunil Geness, is pleased with the partnership between the two organisations.
"The collaboration between the Geness Foundation and the Blue Collar Foundation has been a long time coming and certainly a proud moment. We are very enthusiastic about giving young people a passport to a new kind of freedom, one that will empower them forever," Dr Geness said
"The efforts in sustaining the youth with a passion for learning will certainly take this country to a whole new tier where our conquering weapons will lie in the education of our young adults."
The cost of higher education in South Africa sparked widespread outrage and protests by students in recent years as the #feesmustfall movement gained traction, and while many young people see education as a way out their circumstances, Nevis feels its more personal than that for him.
"I was fortunate to graduate with a degree in Social Sciences in 2014, from UCT. I’ve seen the incredible impact that education has had on my life. When I was younger I actually had no plans to study. My plan was to move to Los Angeles, sleep on the street. I was going to be a struggling musician. But my mum said ‘you can do whatever you want but you are not going to be a stupid musician. You can go out and study and learn something in the meantime and try something different’. I was lucky that I listened to her and my dad," Nevis said.
This will be the third year that the Blue Collar Foundation will be sponsoring a student’s education.
"There are so many deserving young people out there, and so we are saying to society and businesses to come on board with us and help us open the doors to education for 100 young people. We’re filled with hope and optimism about South Africa and if we want to move forward as a country we need to stand with young people and empower them for the future," added Nevis.