An Ocean View resident is on her way to becoming a lawyer thanks to the Blue Collar Foundation and singer Jimmy Nevis.
Savannah Jade Marney is the recipient of the first J. Nevis Bursary which aims to change the lives of young Capetonians and allow them to dream beyond their current socio-economic circumstances.
Despite serious health hurdles, Marney matriculated from Ocean View Secondary School with five distinctions and was accepted to study at UWC’s Law faculty.
While Jimmy Nevis’s financial contribution has helped make her studies possible, book company Via Afrika has come to the party to help pay for her second and third year, based on merit.
Marney says she saw Nevis talking about the Blue Collar Foundation and the bursary on television and decided to find out more online. She soon sent off her application.
“At first I was hesitant, but somehow I knew that I needed the financial support,” she says.
She got a call from the foundation in January, requesting an interview, and the next thing she knew, Nevis and his dad showed up at her door to chat to her.
“When they entered my home I was extremely nervous, but as the interview proceeded I became more comfortable.”
She clearly impressed the Nevises, as the call with good news about her bursary came the very next day.
“At first I was extremely shocked. I couldn’t believe that Jimmy Nevis chose me as his recipient,” she says, adding: “It took me quite a while to process what had just happened.”
With his help, Marney is now on her way to achieving her dream of serving others through the legal system.
“I feel that society has lost its faith in the justice system and somehow I’d like to attempt to restore that faith – I get satisfaction in knowing that at least I tried.”
Considering the obstacles Marney has had to overcome, she’s used to doing more than just trying.
She was just 15 when she was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic, autoimmune disease, which sees her body producing antibodies that attack her healthy tissue.
Although it was a struggle for her to come to terms with the diagnosis, she’s learnt to do so now, adding that her disease motivated her to work harder.
“Being diagnosed didn’t really affect my schooling career. I did not allow it to.”
Her friends and family helped to create an “amazing” support structure, and knowing that she had people who believed in her, pushed Marney to work even harder.
“It wasn’t an easy task to cope with the lupus flares and focus entirely on school, but somehow I pushed through all the pain.”
Her message for other young adults up against obstacles is: “Don’t let the toxic mixture of fear and laziness ruin your goals, ambitions and productivity’’.
“Reach for the stars; build your resilience by overcoming your challenges,” she adds.