The students, throughout their stay in Japan and on their return to SA, are expected to help the two countries strengthen their industrial linkages, amongst other things.
Speaking to SAnews at the beneficiaries’ farewell ceremony, Dlengezele, who was crowned the 2003 Miss SA Teen, said she hoped to be a good SA ambassador abroad and unpack the untold story of the country to the world.
“The journey to break false philosophies about our country begins on my journey to Japan. It is ours, the ambassadors who are going to Japan, to tell our real life stories when we converse with our counterparts from Japan and other countries,” said Dlengezele, who will be doing her Master’s in Business Administration.
The 29–year-old said she will also be exploring other media platforms used abroad, that might help rebrand South Africa under a more positive light.
“We have such a rich offering but we are not packaging our story well enough to sell ourselves to the world,” Dlengezele said.
She is currently a Cooperate Social Investment Consultant at Investec.
The Soweto born and bred said there were several amazing stories that needed to be told.
“I want young South Africans to bring change in industries and other socio-economic platforms, by jointly telling our country’s story best as credible bodies of knowledge,” she added.
She said as SA continues to celebrate women’s month, she felt a need to thank women freedom fighters, and those who are still representing women in leadership.
“… Helen Joseph, Wendy Luhabe, they paved a way for me Masechaba to venture into the world and I will continue to lay a foundation for the next generation,” she said.
Dlengezele holds an honours degree in corporate communication from the University of Johannesburg.
Nomvuyo Nkabinde, 30, of Gugulethu in Cape Town is a Civil Engineering Technician at Transnet who, like Dlengezele, was raised by a single mother.
She will be doing her Master’s degree with Tokyo University.
“Upon my return to SA, I will share my skills with my fellow South Africans,” she said,
She has been working in the engineering field for close to ten years.
“It has been an honour for me to work in this [engineering] sector, where women are supported and encouraged to go to the highest level they want to, so I am very grateful… for this opportunity, especially,” said Nkabinde.
But unlike Dlengezele, whose father never played a role in her upbringing, Nkabinde’s father died while in exile when she was still very young.
“I don’t have a memory of my father, but I believe that I am here today through his work, because he was one of the African National Congress (ANC) soldiers who died in exile.
“He did not die for nothing, it was for me, my family, friends, colleagues and everyone else… today I get to enjoy the fruits of his work,” said Nkabinde.
She said she celebrates women’s day more than everyone else because she was born on 9 August.
The Japanese Ambassador in SA, Yutaka Yoshizawa, said by offering the students the full scholarship, Japan hoped to build a strong bridge, linking his country to SA even more.
“Next year JICA is planning to sponsor 45 students from South Africa alone,” Yoshizawa said.
DHET Chief Director for International Relations, Ghaleeb Jeppie, said the selection processes for the students was intense as they had to write Mathematics and English tests.
He advised those who will be applying for next year to not take the application process for granted and wished them luck.
“The applications for next year have already opened and will be closing on 15 October this year,” said Jeppie.