Alumna Miranda Nel and her husband, James, are currently staying in Uganda.

Please write and tell us where you are in the world and how your careers are progressing, or just write about anything that is close to your heart.


Email your letters to nelia.engelbrecht@nwu.ac.za, fax them to 086 614 3222 or mail them to Nelia Engelbrecht, Room 138, Building C1, North-West University, Private Bag X1290,

Potchefstroom, 2520.



Exploring the world but still rooted in South Africa

Dear fellow alumni


The NWU was like a seed planted in front of my door. I am a PUK and will always remain one. I do not exactly have a doctorate or master’s degree, but I completed a BCom degree in business management and law in 2006 and with that stepped into the adult world.


My journey started at the NWU after school and like many other young girls, I went through the awful "door" (first-year) phase and little sleep. With my new-found freedom, it was especially an adjustment to arrive prepared for classes, tests and exams and to graduate. I was never a Golden Key candidate and also not a member of the Student Council, but gee, did I socialise! It was the best time of my life.


Of course the academic work at university is important, but I left with so much more than just a degree. I made some golden and “for keeps” friends who are precious to me to this day, and I traipsed all over campus with James Nel, to whom I am now happily married, at my side.


I sometimes wonder about the campus, the Draak restaurant and what it looks like today – and whether the first years still throw watermelon at one another. The other day I drove past the university and saw that the parking headache still prevails – oh dear, the parking fines when you were late for class…


After graduating I went to London for two years – an experience that I wish every young person could have. It is the best way to land on your feet and learn to think, because you do not have the comfort of mom and dad’s wallets nearby.


My career started in 2009 at the Lonmin Mine, and after the Marikana debacle I was offered the opportunity to work in Uganda. My husband was already there, so it was a no-brainer, and before I knew what had happened, my whole house had been stuffed into storage and I was on an aeroplane on my way to Uganda!


Oh, wow, Uganda is green and beautiful, overflowing with potential and of course on the equator. So that was goodbye to South Africa and goodbye winter! The people here are very poor and very friendly. They know hardship (under Idi Amin), but one does not even notice that. They blame no-one for their hardship and make plans when an opportunity shows up.


It is very hard to be far from my loved ones in South Africa and I miss them dearly. It hurts so much to see how our parents do not become younger, and the children of our brothers and sisters do not remain small, and that life goes on without you.


I will return and put down roots in South Africa – it is and remains my home.



Kind regards

Miranda Nel (neé Scheppel)




The NWU & U


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