Maggie Rowley, journalist by trade and communications and marketing manager for the Century City precinct from August 1997, touched the lives of many, in ways unimaginable. She was with Rabie Property Group from July 2004, simultaneously working for Century City Property Owners’ Association and Ratanga Junction. Maggie was much loved by her colleagues and highly regarded in media circles, also serving as regional committee member of the South African Property Owners’ Association.
With robust energy, love, and passion, she was instrumental in the metamorphosis of Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton. Rabie adopted the school as the main beneficiary of its corporate social investment programme in 2007, a large portion of its ongoing sponsorship being the employment of additional teachers. Within three years, the matric pass rate soared from 27% in 2008 to 98% in 2020, with Maggie being the empathic driving force and “Mother” of young lives that are being transformed.
Maggie tragically passed away at the age of 61 on 1 January 2019, which left a chasm in Rabie, Century City and Sinenjongo High School.
“In remembrance of Maggie and the tremendous impact she made during her lifetime, as well as continuing the legacy of the burning passion she had for uplifting the youngsters of Sinenjongo High School, Rabie has launched the Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund”, says John Chapman, Director at Rabie. “Students in the past were chosen entirely on their academic performance and our CEO or directors would assist these students in their private capacities up to graduation and beyond. We felt that it has become necessary to not only formalise this process, but also to do so in Maggie’s honour. The Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund (MRSAF) is a completely transparent process and as such, we will also enter into an agreement with the successful candidate, so that both parties are clear on what the expectations are.”
Grade 12 students at the school this year were invited to apply in March, and from those applicants, the top four students as ranked by academic performance, were chosen for the shortlist. Interviews were conducted with the four candidates and the selection criteria, with a heavy weighting on academic ability, also included the determination of attributes such as purpose, energy, and clarity of direction.
“Overall, the candidate who we think has the best potential in the tough world of tertiary education and in the big wide world beyond that.” says Chapman.
The first MRSAF beneficiary is Siphelo Duba, who lives with his mother in Joe Slovo Park. Bright eyed and ambitious, he has his sights set very high. Space in fact! Siphelo wants to study Aerospace Engineering and has his eye on NASA and international space travel.
The aim of the MRSAF is to ease the transition from high school to university and to take care of the things which are often neglected or not even considered. It is stressful for a student to realise that beyond University acceptance and studies paid for through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), there are everyday needs that have to be met and additional expenses that accumulate. While the student still applies for and receives funding for their education through NSFAS, the MRSAF will take care of items such as bedding, basic appliances, clothing, data, airtime and a computer. In addition, the MRSAF candidate will receive support from Rabie in terms of registration at the University, assistance with getting settled in the dorm and further guidance in terms of tutors and study guides if necessary.
“We remain in close contact with our beneficiary and are available for anything he or she needs help with. Our goal is to assist him or her to integrate into the University life and to give him the best opportunity to achieve greatness. Our students from Sinenjongo High School are competing for space with students across the country for the same courses and qualifications. The playing field is levelled now, whether you come from a prestigious private school or whether you have grown up in an informal settlement. The MRSAF is the embodiment of Maggie’s determination to give our students a fighting chance.” says Chapman.
The MRSAF will be awarded annually and each recipient will be supported throughout his or her university career, which means that by year four, there will be as many beneficiaries supported by the Trust.
Rabie formed the Marconi Beam Schools Trust in 2007, which is a registered non-profit organisation. Through the assistance of donors and philanthropists, as well as contributions by Rabie, Marconi Beam Schools Trust funds the additional teachers at Sinenjongo High School as well as odds and ends required at the school. It’s through this Trust that the MRSAF will be funded.