Robert G Nelson fellowship fund
Prof Eyamba G Bokamba and Mrs Bokamba established the Robert G Nelson fellowship fund in grateful honour to the Late Rev. Dr Robert G Nelson, an American citizen, who had been one of their key mentors when they were pursuing their university and post-university studies in the USA. Dr Nelson served as Secretary (i.e. Director) of the Department of Africa in the Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) headquarter in Indianapolis, Indiana, for twenty-five years. In this capacity, he established different innovative scholarship programs in his department to sponsor the university and post-university education of over 25 Congolese of various ages to pursue and complete degrees in various fields: theology, medicine, linguistics, political science, business administration, education and nursing. Most of the scholarship recipients have come to play instrumental roles in occupying positions of leadership in the public and private sectors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in other countries where they have settled. Dr Nelson was also a great supporter of the liberation movement against apartheid in South Africa where he was a frequent visitor of and contributor to the churches affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In Prof and Mrs Bokamba's views, Dr Nelson's accomplishments during his tenure in DOM with regard to the liberation of the Disciples of Christ churches in DRC, the university and post-university training of Congolese, and introduction of debates against apartheid in the World Council of Churches were both inspirational and revolutionary: he was truly a visionary, an Africanist scholar, a self-less leader, a generous human-being, and above all, a man of the (down-trodden) people.
It is to these accomplishments and qualities that the Bokambas and other contributors (including particularly the University Place Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Champaign, Illinois, which has donated about US$2000), have generously responded, and invite others to do the same. The fund is designated to assist deserving and less financially well-off under-represented South African men and women who are members of ALASA to complete the writing of their Master's or Doctoral theses.
The first recipients of this fellowship were announced at the ALASA International Conference in Port Elizabeth during July 2001. They are:
1. R Thuube