Rojie KistenI was born and raised in Port Elizabeth and although I now live in Cape Town, I still consider Port Elizabeth my home. It is where my mother and other family members live and where my family has strong roots. Our family name is Moodaley and if you go to the South End Museum you will find photos of my uncles who raised us - Comras, Deena and Coopoo Moodaley. They were all well known in the soccer and cricket fraternity.

Committed to the metro and its people
I am committed to the development of the metro and its people, and I sit on the board of the Mandela Bay Development Agency. As an entrepreneur I am involved in several large wind energy projects in the Eastern Cape, which offer considerable investment and development for the province. Through these projects we are supporting educational programmes in 28 schools in the greater metro area and rural Eastern Cape. Education is very close to my heart, and learners from these schools will hopefully be future NMMU students.

I have known NMMU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Derrick Swartz, for many years and I assisted him to raise funds for NMMU Honours students during his Mount Fuji climb in 2015. This year I am climbing with Prof Swartz and the Trailblazing group to raise funds for the 160 students to complete their final year.

I know how difficult it is to raise enough money
Having been a student and bursary holder, I know how difficult it is to raise enough money to finish your studies. I live my life knowing that somebody gave me a break and I want to do the same for others.

My heart that goes out to all the students who haven’t be able to graduate because of a lack of funds. I want to emphasise that we need to help all students, not only the top students. Many students with average marks do wonderful things once they graduate and enter the working world. I am a big social activist and want to know that all students have support.

Rojie Kisten doing stairs training

My involvement with NMMU
My involvement with NMMU goes back many years when I was working with Old Mutual. From about 2009 we sponsored predominantly black women students with bursaries to pursue qualifications at NMMU in the legal, financial and agricultural fields in order to enter the asset management field when they graduated.

Old Mutual remains a firm friend of NMMU and recently launched the Old Mutual Scholarship Fund, primarily for academically achieving ‘missing middle’ students. These students are regarded as ‘not poor enough’ to qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), and yet their families are ‘not rich enough’ to pay for their studies.

Fundraising in earnest
I have already started fundraising in earnest for the Trailblazing campaign, and I have approached all my friends and everyone I know to make a R500 donation. I am also busy raising funds through a crowdfunding initiative called Back a Buddy. My goal is to raise R100 000 for the campaign.

Excited and nervous as hell
I’m excited and nervous as hell about the climb but I have at least started doing my step training, which is required to achieve the different forms of fitness we will need to climb Machu Picchu. It’s mid-June now and I still have two-and-half-months to prepare for the four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We have been given a rigorous training programme to follow, so I had better get going!