Matrics can now apply to 40 bursaries at once – with the help of a Whatsapp chatbot

Business Insider SA

  • The education platform Xhuma helps disadvantage students choose a career path, compile a CV and helps them apply for bursaries via WhatsApp.
  • Grade 12 learners will also be able to take aptitude tests via the service – but will have to pay between R599 and R999 to obtain results. 
  • Bursaries are available from FNB, Investec, Pick n Pay, Nampak and other companies, who are helping to fund the platform. 
  • For more stories, go to

*This article has been updated below.

Matric pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds can now identify courses to study, apply for 40 bursaries, and create a CV in 15 minutes thanks to Xhuma's whatsppp chatbot.

Xhuma, a digital technology company specialising in education, aims to encourage grade 12 pupils to further their education, by connecting pupils to companies with bursaries available. 

“The most heartfelt thing so far for me is that we’ve had kids from rural Limpopo, rural North West, Mpumalanga, KwaZuzu-Natal… and [other provinces] who have applied with that chatbot,” said one of the founders Schalk Burger.

Bursaries from FNB and Investec, as well as Pick n Pay, Pioneer Foods, Nampak, HP, Tourvest and many others are on offer via the Whatsapp service.

Xhuma Bursars
Xhuma Bursars

Here’s how the bursary application process works:

  • After accessing the Xhuma website, pupils can click on 'How the bursary chatbot works' for a quick summary of the process, including a list of the documents required.
  • The 'Take me to WhatsApp' option will direct learners to Xhuma’s WhatsApp page where they will be required to provide personal information required for the application.
  • Once these steps are completed, Xhuma provides candidates with a list of relevant courses that they can apply for at universities.  
  • Based on the course students will be studying, a list of appropriate bursaries will then be sent via WhatsApp, allowing learners to choose their top two prospective options. Their details will also be shared with all the other companies in the network. The learner's application will be sent to up to 40 companies.

Millions of families in South Africa cannot afford aptitude tests nor do they have access to a career guidance counsellor, but Xhuma allows pupils to do an aptitude test for free. Burger says participants are encourage to write aptitude tests before they submit their bursary applications.

“It’s not just about sending a kid to varsity, but we want to get them to study the right thing as well,” said Burger.  

Xhuma is planning to officially launch the aptitude and personality test at a later stage. Even though students can take the test for free, they will be charged R599 to obtain summary assessment results and R999 for detailed results. 

The company claims the tests would normally cost nearly ten times as much.

“We’re going to bring personality aptitude tests to the market… [and make results available] at like 90% below what the average market charges because at the moment only private school kids have that sort of [access],” said Berger. “This is really going to bridge the gap for a lot of people.”

*This article was updated after publication to add that although pupils can write the aptitude test for free, they will still have to pay between to obtain results. 

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