The latest crop of Madibaz Sport graduates have unveiled the winning recipe as determination, discipline and time-management skills helped them to achieve in the lecture room and on the sports field.
In addition, support from their families, friends, lecturers and coaches at Nelson Mandela University was critical to any success they enjoyed, they said.
Rugby scrumhalf Dundre Maritz, who graduated with an honours (cum laude) degree in economics, said it was vital to be committed in everything you did.
“My mantra was what my father always told me to do – ‘to show up’,” said the 24-year-old. “Every day you need to show up in terms of work ethic, commitment, loyalty and determination.
He added that he associated himself with individuals from various spheres who could guide his development.
“They have played a massive role in my development as a student and athlete. I always had and still have access to valuable expertise and wisdom that you simply cannot buy.”
Supporting his sense of commitment was netball player Lindokuhle Manyisa, who sported a diploma in civil engineering.
“It is all about having discipline,” she said. “I had to pitch up for every practice and game, while keeping up with my academics.
“My coach, who rooted for us to do well academically, also motivated me.”
She said her teammates were brilliant on court and in the classroom, which made her believe that she could do it too.
Alex Penhall, who is busy with his honours in psychology, said it was important to absorb the holistic experience of varsity life.
“I would say students must enjoy every second they get because time goes by so fast,” said the hockey star who believed discipline on and off the field was key.
“Manage your programme well and know when it is time to have fun and when it is time for work.”
Hannah Werth, a BSc graduate and top water polo player, emphasised the importance of always delivering her best, a quality that netted her academic and sports bursaries.
She also spoke about finding the right balance.
“There is a time to work and a time to train, but importantly, there is a time to rest and have fun.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t add to that pressure.”
By his own admission, soccer player Kaashif Jassen faced tough academic times, but the support structure in his personal life and at the varsity was instrumental in him graduating with a degree in human movement science.
“Also, my friends have been crucial. It is very important to have people around you who not only make you happy, but push and motivate you.”
Volleyball ace Bogolo Moloisi, now with an advanced diploma in business studies behind her name, emphasised the importance of time management.
“Balancing academics and sports is not easy. On one side you need to get that qualification, but there is also this sport you are so passionate about.
“The fact that I had the same load of work as other students was hard. I just developed my time management skills and learned to prioritise.”
Sprinter Aidan Tuohy, who graduated with a sports management degree, emphasised the importance of a support structure and the role his parents and coach had played in helping him balance the workload associated with sport and academics.
He is also a proponent of proper planning.
“You have to stick to a timetable to balance academics and sport, because if you don’t, your marks will slip and you may under-perform in competitions.”