Chiarman, Robert Matana Gumede established the Robert Gumede Family Keni Foundation, whose primary role is to contribute to underprivileged communities. The Foundation through its various development programmes is focused on inter-alia education, healthcare, religious organizations, community infrastructure development and sports. The foundation is managed by Gumede’s loving wife, Dr Tee Portia Gumede who is the Chief Executive Officer.
The Robert Gumede Family decided in 2010, through the Foundation, to dedicate R40 million to provide at least 20 annual, full fee university scholarships for successful matric students from Mpumalanga Province. Annually, at minimum, one caddy will also receive a scholarship to further his studies, as well as the best students from Gumede’s ex-schools in Kanyamazane, namely Khalipani High School, Thembeka Secondary School and one school from Kabokweni where his mom Keni lived and sold vetkoeks and soup during school breaks.
The Scholarship Programme is focused on providing financial and social support to young people born to single parents, orphans, unemployed parents, disabled persons and children looked after by pensioners.
Recent announcements by President Zuma, Minister Blade Nzimande and Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that Mpumalanga will finally have a new university and tertiary hospital/medical school have been welcomed by Gumede.
“The Robert Gumede Family Keni Foundation Scholarship Programme initiative offers full scholarships on condition that the students, after qualification, will serve the people of Mpumalanga by joining the Local or Provincial government or even non-government organisations, where they must serve the community for at least two years and must remain in the province for at least five years,” stated Gumede.
Gumede says: “In the next 10 years, the Robert Gumede Family Keni Foundation is planning to provide for and produce at least 200 graduates who will serve their Mpumalanga communities. It is expected that once the fully fledged Mpumalanga university is finally established, the number of scholarships to be awarded on an annual basis may more than double.”
For the class of 2010, the Foundation has focused on the Mpumalanga Enhlanzeni Region as this region is the furthest away from any existing universities in South Africa. The Foundation will also decide which region/s will benefit the Matric class of 2011 and thereafter.
The Foundation has taken a transparent and independent approach in awarding the scholarships and has appointed an Mpumalanga Chapter Scholarship Trustees Committee comprising respectable leaders such as Prof John Shongwe, Dr Tee Portia Gumede, Pastor Mxolisi Lephoko, Ms Happiness Magagula, Mr Oupa Pilane, Mr Mfana Lushaba, Ms Irma Green and Mr Phillip Hlabangane, who are responsible for identifying, assessing and awarding the scholarships.
Gumede, in the true spirit of Ubuntu, has awarded the scholarships to the parents of the students who, in turn, pay for their children’s education so that their parental role is not diminished or replaced by the Foundation.
“The scholarships awarded to the recipients are for the study of medicine, civil engineering, chemical engineering, mining engineering, electrical engineering, economics and finance, biochemistry and social sciences. Each student will be allocated a mentor who is a successful leader in his or her own right, and who will monitor and support the student throughout the scholarship programme duration.
“Furthermore, the Foundation social worker will make unannounced visits to the students at their places of study, whilst the Robert Gumede Family Keni Foundation Scholarship Programme Mpumalanga Chapter Trustees will also liase directly with the university continuously so as to monitor the progress of the students on the programme,” states Dr Tee Gumede.
Some of the recent programmes initiated by the foundation in education are the donation of computers to schools to establish computer laboratories, construction of staff rooms, school offices, computer laboratories and the awarding of bursaries to students.
The Foundation has also donated R1million towards the Mpumalanga Higher Education and Training Community Forum, which is led by the heads of Mpumalanga’s various tertiary institutions and civil society, with a view that they will work with the Ministry of Higher Education and Training in the establishment of a university in Mpumalanga.