Hollywoodbets with Nomzamo Mbatha pledge further R500 000 in bursaries

It was a beautiful day in Durban as Hollywoodbets and Nomzamo Mbatha’s Lighthouse Foundation awarded R547 000 in tertiary bursaries to 43 successful applicants.

The 12 successful candidates who were able to attend the event were given a warm welcome to Zimbali Coastal Resort where they celebrated their achievement with Nomzamo Mbatha herself!

Many tears of joy were shed during this heart-warming ceremony where the awardees were celebrated. Mbatha shared her vision with all the guests who included the KZN Gaming and Betting Board, members of the media as well as representatives from The Lighthouse Foundation and the Hollywoodbets team.

The highlight of the morning came when Mbatha was rendered speechless by a surprise announcement from Sandisiwe Bhengu, Hollywoodbets Operations Executive. Bhengu informed the guests that Hollywoodbets is pledging a further R500 000 to this cause, resulting in a massive round of applause from everyone!

According to Mbatha it has been a joy working with a brand that has a parallel vision to that of her own foundation. “I named my organisation The Lighthouse Foundation because in the midst of a storm people look to a lighthouse to help guide them through the storm. That is exactly what we want to be for the people of South Africa, we want to bridge the gap for those who need it most. It blew my mind when I learned how much Hollywoodbets does within South Africa. They’ve already invested R300 000 into tertiary education with Gagasi FM! That’s why it made sense to work with them to help bring education to South Africans in need,” she said.

With 134 charitable organisations, 140 development sports teams and 36 SMMEs benefiting from the company’s support in just the last financial year it’s clear that Hollywoodbets has actively been making a difference within South Africa. The Hollywoodbets My Community Programme has been running for the past eight years, creating positive change to the lives of many South Africans. Bhengu believes that the time was right to go even bigger and better in 2020.

“We saw the great need when we started our work with Nomzamo and The Lighthouse Foundation and we felt that we had to respond to that need by extending our support and pledging a further R500 000 to this incredible cause. It gives us at Hollywoodbets such great joy seeing these students who, as little as a week ago had no idea what their futures held, but who were brought to tears as they were called onto stage with Nomzamo. Standing here before these students I’m reminded of the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and today I’m so thankful to be part of that village! I also want to say to the students that we will be tracking your journey. The key for us is that you will not be walking alone. We will be supporting you and, depending on your performance and our need, we will look at offering employment to those we are able to. Over years we’ve seen how well an internship programme can work and we’re proud of the fact that we’ve seen 300 interns come through our doors and that we have a 100% retention rate! Our hope is that this will be possible for some of our bursary recipients too,” she said.

Mbatha stressed how important it was to the team to ensure that this bursary was open to all South African citizens. “There were no age restrictions placed on the bursary, and it was also not only granted to specific institutions only. Anyone could apply. We felt particularly passionate about helping ‘the missing middle’, those who are often refused bursaries and struggle to pursue their dreams because of the restrictions in place at the moment. When we started this process we didn’t know how we were going to pull it off, but we did! We chose to support those who have a spirit of resilience, those who keep pushing and keep believing. Thank you to all the students who have allowed The Lighthouse Foundation and Hollywoodbets to be a part of your journey!” said the star.

Approximately 40 000 applications were received and the net was cast far and wide to provide opportunities to as many South Africans as possible, with bursaries being granted into diverse fields including Early Childhood Development, Actuarial Science, Engineering, Logistics and even an MBA amongst others.

Nomzamo Mbatha speaks at the handover

Some of the bursary recipients