Sindiswa ‘Mam’ Sindi’ Ntshongwana (1954–2024)

13 May 2024 | Photo UCT News. Read time 4 min.

20 November 1954–13 May 2024

It is with great shock and profound sadness that we learned that Mrs Sindiswa “Mam’ Sindi” Ntshongwana, the retired director of student funding and administration in the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Department of Student Affairs (DSA), passed away at her home in Tshwane after a long battle with ill health.

“Mam’ Sindi” – as she was affectionately known by students and staff – passed away at the age of 69. She joined UCT in 2001, and has served as finance manager in DSA before going on to become the director of student funding and administration.

A gracious woman

Ntshongwana served the UCT community with passion for 18 years until her retirement in 2019.

Members of the university community, present and past, reflected fondly on her.

She has been described as a beautiful soul who had a heart for students and their needs, was always willing to assist, and would do everything possible to help. Some remember her as a very kind and student-centred person, a true servant, an amazing human being with so much care for students, and a ray of light and love who brought such energy, enthusiasm and deep kindness to every interaction.

She is also remembered for the love she had for her family, her kindness, resourcefulness, and professionalism.

Many students regarded her as a mother, through whose parenthood they could survive varsity – with one describing her as a “sweet woman in sour times” and another recalling how they don't remember going hungry at UCT while “Mam' Sindi” was around.

Passing the baton

At the retirees farewell on 8 October 2019 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Ntshongwana was clear about her expectations for the next generation of UCT professional, administrative support and service (PASS) and academic staff. She encouraged them to continue playing their part in nation-building.

Mam’ Sindi was passionate about using education to shape future generations so that they can take their rightful place and be something.

Hardworking woman

Mam’ Sindi, the second of nine children, was born in Ngonyameni in Ngqeleni, Eastern Cape. She completed her schooling career at St John’s College in Mthatha.

After completing her schooling, she found a job at Standard Bank in 1975. Thanks to her dedication, her career progressed as she worked at Standard Bank branches in Dutywa and Pretoria over a period of 21 years, ending in 1996. Seeking new challenges, she joined the South African Breweries in 1998 and worked for three years at the Pretoria and Polokwane offices.

Thirst for education

Ntshongwana obtained her Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Management and Accounting from the University of Pretoria in 1996. Her thirst for education was not quenched, so she pursued an honours degree in commerce, which she earned in 1997 from the then University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University).

She obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) in 2022 and 2012 further enrolled and completed the Course work component of the master’s in development finance, also at the UCT GBS.

Sincere condolences to her children Yolisa, Siqhamo, Simlindile-Wafika (Poppy) and Viwe; daughter-in-law Tinyiko; grandchildren Awakhe-Amandla and Umele-Wande; and four brothers.

Mam’ Sindi was laid to rest on Friday, 24 May 2024, in Mtshobo village in Tabase, Mthatha.

The world is less bright without you Mam’ Sindi, lala ngoxolo.

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