Six MBA Graduates Received their Degrees Cum Laude

Six MBA Graduates Received their Degrees <em>Cum Laude</em>
Dr Donal Ryan, Mr Avaan Sewpersadh, Ms Samantha Sigamoney, Ms Megandrie Moodley, Mr Mogantheran Naidoo and Mr Luchen Govender.

Six Master of Business Administration graduates received their degrees cum laude during the Law and Management Studies Graduation ceremony.

They were: Dr Donal Ryan, Ms Samantha Sigamoney, Mr Avaan Sewpersadh, Ms Megandrie Moodley, Mr Mogantheran Naidoo and Mr Luchen Govender.

Coming from a disadvantaged background, Sigamoney’s parents taught her that education was the conduit to success.

Her research focused on the evaluation of the effectiveness of interpersonal skills training interventions on leadership within the Eqstra Industrial Equipment business.

‘The study was designed to identify employees’ perceptions on interpersonal skills training initiatives within Eqstra Industrial Equipment, and its effectiveness in creating a talent pool of emerging leaders for succession planning.

‘The study also examined the impact of gender, age and the inter-racial cultural background of employees in relation to the effectiveness of interpersonal skills training.

‘Personally completing the MBA degree with 12 distinctions and four merit awards, and being awarded the degree cum laude was the cherry on the top for me.’

Sigamoney, who currently works as Toyota Industrial Equipment’s Assistant General Manager for the KwaZulu-Natal region, hopes her success opens up opportunities for better positions within the company.

Ryan, who completed with 15 distinctions and received three merit awards, advised students to go into their studies with an open mind.

‘An MBA is a very worthwhile challenge to take on. If you go into it with an open mind and the right attitude you will learn a great deal about the business world. If you don't, then the course will become a painstaking chore, and at the very most you will end up with a fancy sheet of paper with your name on it - and this should not be your sole reason for doing an MBA.’

Ryan’s research was entitled: “The effect of Chinese Rubber Imports on the South African Rubber Manufacturing Industry”.

He said he found it quite difficult trying to juggle family, work and his MBA studies.

‘My first semester exams in MBA coincided with the birth of my first child. Therefore, from that point on, any time spent on my MBA was taking me away from my wife and newborn daughter which wasn’t easy. But at the end of the day, it was worthwhile.’

Sewpersadh, however, said his personal life did not take any strain during his MBA.

‘Consistency is the key! Pay attention, work hard on your assignments and study for tests and exams. Because I was consistent, I was never stressed out – and neither was my family.’

He cites motivation from his family as fuel for working harder, longer and studying further. His dissertation titled: “The Impact of Company Acquisition and Rebranding on the Workforce in a KwaZulu-Natal Manufacturing Plant”, focused on how a change in ownership of an organisation affected staff within that organisation.

‘I investigated and tried to identify factors that cause the greatest demotivation and concern or worry among staff, as well as the factors that cause the most motivation and excitement.

‘I also investigated ways that could maximise the positive emotions and minimise the negative ones during the acquisition, merger and rebranding process. Finally, I investigated whether white collar staff or higher earners had a different attitude towards the whole process as compared to blue collar or lower earning staff members,’ said Sewpersadh.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Cum Laude Victory for Business Administration Graduates

<em>Cum Laude</em> Victory for Business Administration Graduates
Bachelor of Business Administration cum laude graduates Mr Baven Padayachee and Mrs Avashie Pather.

Two graduates could hardly contain their excitement as they were awarded Bachelor of Business Administration degrees cum laude.

Mrs Avashnie Pather and Mr Baven Padayachee agreed that their highlights included obtaining their qualifications cum laude.

Ten years after finishing her matric, Pather renewed her studies – which had been put on hold due to financial constraints – and excelled.

Some of the challenges included studying late at night, planning her wedding while studying and trying to balance all that with her daily job.

Pather said her husband’s support and motivation for her to succeed had been vital. ‘Kugan was my pillar of strength and never stopped motivating me. A huge chunk of my success goes to him for never giving up on me and for never complaining about me spending too much time on campus work.’

Pather and Padayachee received Dean’s commendations and were members of the Golden Key Society, while Padayachee also received 10 Merit Certificates.

Padayachee said academic success had always been his dream. ‘The numerous academic awards and certificates I have obtained have ensured that my dream is now a reality.

‘I have also forged lifelong friendships and relationships along the way.  Many of these students have also played a role in my achievements.’

He thanked his wife and daughter who sacrificed a lot to ensure his success. ‘They have shared whole-heartedly in all my successes and I am deeply indebted to both of them for their constant support, motivation and most of all for being my biggest cheerleaders.’

Padayachee is currently finishing his Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and Supply Chain Management.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Law Graduate and Radio Show Host Aiming High

Law Graduate and Radio Show Host Aiming High
Ukhozi FM broadcaster Ms Boniswa Moto graduating with her LLB.

As an icon for youth empowerment through her show Teen Zone on Ukhozi FM, Law graduate Boniswa Moto says success begins with education.

Moto who hails from Umzimkhulu, South of KwaZulu-Natal says that she initially thought she had made a mistake in choosing Law but changed her mind when she decided to take the School of Law slogan “Law is not just for Lawyers” to heart and enthusiastically looked forward to the wonderful opportunities an LLB will open for her.

‘I was unhappy with Law at first until I saw the slogan on one of the Law School banners. That was a turning point for me as I realised that when I completed the degree I will be able to expand my potential as wide as possible. That realisation made me continue with my LLB more enthusiastically,’ she said.

Moto, whose broadcasting career began at a local community radio station, said she enjoys using radio as a platform to connect and inspire the youth.

‘When I joined Inanda FM at the age of 19, I was the stations youngest presenter at that time and so it was only fitting that I did the teenagers show. Radio is a platform I am very passionate about and I plan to continue with my radio career,’ she said.

From law to radio and now business - these are Moto’s plans as she wants to pursue a business administration qualification next semester.

‘My long-term plan is to one day be my own boss, create job opportunities and develop my rural community in all ways possible to me,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Honorary Doctorate Conferred on Human Rights Icon

Honorary Doctorate Conferred on Human Rights Icon
Judge Thumba Pillay.

Legal luminary, Judge Thumba Pillay, has received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in recognition of the immense role he played in the advancement of social justice and human rights.

Pillay dedicated his life to the struggle against apartheid and contributed to the development of a democratic South Africa.

During his address to Law graduates, the 81-year-old human rights activist remarked that the historic moment marked his first ever capping at a Graduation ceremony.

‘The irony underlying the conferment of this degree honoris causa is not lost on me or my contemporaries who studied at the former segregated University of Natal and boycotted successive graduation ceremonies until segregation was removed,’ said Pillay.

The retired judge encouraged graduates not only to be active citizens but credible leaders. He also emphasised the importance of the resurgence of civic and non-governmental organizations and public interest groups not confined by political party loyalties.

‘As important and as duty bound as it may be for the vast majority of students whose parents at great personal sacrifice saw them through their studies to help raise the income levels of their families and build successful careers, it is equally important to be a good citizen. The activism at student level also equips one for the future because it involves interaction with fellow students from diverse backgrounds and enhances nation building,’ he added.

He warned graduates and parents that the mere obtainment of a degree is not the end.

Pillay dedicated his doctorate to his wife and children who grew up with all the tension and restrictions imposed on a “banned” person.

He also dedicated the award to his parents for their unshakeable belief in him as well as to his fellow students at the former “Non-European Section” of the University of Natal who fought alongside him.

He also thanked his colleagues in the legal profession who, during apartheid, contributed to the fight for human rights. 

The Graduation ceremony was preceded by the 15th Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Memorial Lecture. At the lecture, Pillay delivered an address on the Mxenge Legacy. The talk was titled: “Lessons learnt in the pursuit of Human Rights and a just society for now and the future”.


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Education and Sport a Winning Combination for Law Graduate

Education and Sport a Winning Combination for Law Graduate
Golden Arrows midfielder Mr Njabulo Sithole graduating with his LLB.

Mastering law and dominating on the football field are part of life for Bachelor of Laws (LLB) graduate and Golden Arrows midfielder, Mr Njabulo Sithole.

Sithole’s newly acquired LLB is the latest addition to his growing list of impressive achievements, which include representing South Africa in soccer in Hong Kong and New Zealand in 2010. 

Also on his list of accomplishments are being awarded the UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship for outstanding achievements in sport at international, national or provincial levels in 2014 and, more recently, being part of the team that won the MultiChoice Diski Challenge and represented South Africa in The Netherlands in 2016.

‘From the beginning I knew it was not going to be easy studying towards an LLB. However, I adopted a determined approach very early that worked for me and allowed me to finish my degree in record time - I never failed one module,’ said Sithole.

The PSL player, who signed with Golden Arrows in 2013, knew that being a young star would be challenging but his determination kept him going.

‘My biggest setback was dislocating my right shoulder during a game and - because my education could not be delayed - having to write tests through the pain. Also, when I was doing my third year it was hard to balance the heavy study load with all the travelling and team training.

‘My friends and coaches played a big role in making sure I was up to date with work.

They showed interest and support in ensuring I graduated,’ said Sithole.

While he plans to concentrate on soccer and hopefully play for Bafana Bafana, Sithole’s current goals include pursuing his Masters in Maritime Studies.

‘I am taking a little break from soccer to focus on my masters. I have been studying and playing soccer almost my whole life and having these qualifications will open a lot of doors for me. I really appreciate the support of my parents, team managers and coaches in helping me get this far,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Durban Metro Chief Financial Officer Graduates with a PhD Degree

Durban Metro Chief Financial Officer Graduates with a PhD Degree
Doctor of Administration graduate Dr Krish Kumar.

Ethekwini Municipality’s Chief Financial Officer, Dr Krishnaperdash Aswanth-Kumar, received his Doctor of Administration degree during the Law and Management Studies Graduation ceremonies.

Kumar said among the challenges was juggling work and studies while heading the finances of one of the biggest cities in South Africa. 

‘I was under extreme pressure and had to manage my time effectively.

‘On several occasions, the entire weekend had to be sacrificed. My wife and I managed to strike the right balance although we did have a few clashes,’ said Kumar.

Kumar is the Commissioner of the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), President of the Chartered Institute of Government Finance, Audit and Risk Officers, and a member of the Finance Working Group of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

The focal point of his study was to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of revenue management in metropolitan municipalities in South Africa.

He said the study found that: ‘The effectiveness and efficiency of the revenue management systems are not being optimised. More specifically, the municipal debt has grown, the cost of free basic services has increased, distribution losses for water and electricity have been steadily increasing, and there is an average surplus of 9% on net operating margins.

‘Emanating from these findings, a model for revenue enhancement was developed,’ said Kumar.

‘The key recommendations included a strategy to address water and electricity losses in distribution; reviewing the affordability of the free basic services package and improving the net operating margins.  There were also suggestions about interventions to improve the effectiveness of revenue collections, such as installation of pre-paid and smart meters, and the enhancement of credit control bylaws and revenue management systems.

‘This study will assist municipalities to develop a strategy to improve their cash collection rates. This will have a huge impact on accelerating the delivery of services to eradicate inherited service delivery backlogs. The study will also be useful for university students, academics, researchers, National Treasury, COGTA, SALGA and the FFC,’ he added. 

Kumar said conforming to an academic style of writing and editing had been a humbling experience. 'It was very enriching in terms of appreciating the academic world and what is required in terms of fulfilling the requirements of the dissertation and the articles that need to be published.’

Kumar thanked his supervisor, Professor PS Reddy for the role he played, inspiring him to do well in his studies. ‘The support from my family and work colleagues also contributed significantly.’

Sithembile Shabangu

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Twin Sisters Say Team Work was the Recipe for their Academic Success

Twin Sisters Say Team Work was the Recipe for their Academic Success
Twin sisters Kirosha and Kriasha Govender.

An interest in how the rule of law governs South Africa and protects the country’s citizens motivated twins Kirosha and Kriasha Govender to both study for LLB degrees which they have been awarded by UKZN.

‘South Africa’s high crime rate and political happenings made us keen to pursue a legal career and hopefully make a difference in our country. Being born in 1994, after the apartheid era, we now have the chance to make an impact and help change the lives of South Africans for the better,’ said Kriasha.

The sisters, who have shared every educational experience from primary school through high school and now university, say their strong bond is what gets them through the ups and downs of life.

‘We have shared many memories together and even had the opportunity to pursue careers in the same field,’ said Kirosha. ‘Often siblings become jealous and there is competition especially when it comes to twins but we instead focus on helping each other in areas where one is stronger than the other. Therefore there has been hardly any rivalry at university because our marks usually only differ by one or two.’

Looking to the future, the sisters who have also found a common interest in the legal field of risk and compliance, say they are looking forward to exploring their career prospects in that area.

‘This route is unpopular for a person pursuing an LLB degree as graduates usually opt to become candidate attorneys,’ said Kriasha.  ‘Throughout our degree we were exposed to various areas of law which was beneficial as it allowed us to expand our knowledge and have open minds. Our LLB degree allows us to enter into risk and compliance and obtain careers in this sector.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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“Bumpy Road” Makes Success Sweeter for Law Graduate

“Bumpy Road” Makes Success Sweeter for Law Graduate
Ms Yasmeen Rasool.

Having her car stolen with all of her research material in it as well as having to complete her degree via correspondence after moving from Durban to Johannesburg to start her articles of clerkship, were obstacles Master of Laws graduate Ms Yasmeen Rasool had to overcome in the pursuit of her qualification.

‘Although I had several challenges, I was determined to complete my studies and add to the literature on my topic area.  At the firm where I work, Allen & Overy, I am seen as the “go to expert” for any issues related to my masters research,’ said Rasool.

Rasool’s research titled: “An Examination of how the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPI) Will Impact on Direct Marketing and the Current Legislative Framework in South Africa”, explores how the promulgation of the said Act would impact on the practice of direct marketing in South Africa. The study was supervised by Mr Lee Swales.

‘I think my area of research is a new development in the law and as such there is a death of scholarly writing about it. In my view, my research validly contributes to the dialogue on the legislation,’ she said.

Juggling her studies with the demanding schedule of being a Candidate Attorney meant many late nights turned into early mornings, with her social life almost non-existent. Nevertheless, she says sacrifices were worth it.

Rasool is looking forward to the growth that comes with her newly acquired skills. ‘A masters is a very challenging degree because it requires you to extract from yourself research, analytical, reasoning and many other skills which an LLB doesn’t necessarily equip you with. It forces you to think outside the box which I believe is an exercise that can only grow you,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Volatile Economy and Rising Operational Costs Focus of PhD Research

Volatile Economy and Rising Operational Costs Focus of PhD Research
Dr Katombe Madi.

The Quest for Process Operations’ Variability Reduction in Manufacturing Firms in South Africa, was the title of research by Business Administration doctoral graduate, Dr Katombe Madi.

Explaining the focus of his research, Madi said: ‘In an era characterised by a volatile economy, intense competition, and rising energy and material costs, improving operational efficiency has become a necessity for margin purposes and long-term business success.

‘This research study attempts to develop a model for process operations variability reduction that integrates the fundamental drivers, the intermediate measures and the four traditional competitive capabilities: quality, cost, delivery reliability and speed of delivery. In addition, it highlights the precise mechanisms in plants that lead to multiple competitive capabilities development.

‘The concept of a routine-based approach to capabilities development provides a nexus between the earlier actions by the organisation and competitive advantage. Using longitudinal data from the Manufacturing Circle of South Africa, a statistical analysis was conducted to support the model, and path analysis models were developed which confirmed that the performance frontier is really a surface that spans many different dimensions. Altering the shape of the frontier in one dimension possibly also changes its shape in other dimensions,’ said Madi.

Asked about benefits accruing from the research, he said his study contributed to the body of knowledge and outlined pathways to process operations variability reduction in Manufacturing Firms in South Africa.  ‘This is through better execution of routines concerned with maintaining the performance of the current processes, improving the existing processes, and transforming or changing to new processes in order to develop sustainable competitive advantage.’

He said balancing his personal life and his studies had not been easy. ‘I needed at least two hours during the week for my studies, and most of my weekends were completely dedicated to my research, except for going to church.

‘My young daughters Abigail and Arielle were always asking me questions such as “Dad are you still doing your homework? Can we go to your school to meet your teacher?”’

Madi advised other students wanting to do a PhD that it was worth the hard work. ‘PhD students have a high degree of internal motivation that stems from their inborn curiosity and love of intellectual pursuits. The doctoral degree is not just a passport to a world of research and new knowledge, it is a valuable asset that provides special abilities across several job functions.’

Madi, who is currently employed as a Process Engineer in a multinational company, thanked his family for their unconditional support and his supervisor Dr E Munapo for challenging him to think beyond the existing knowledge frontier, therefore developing and enabling him to complete his studies.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Paternity Leave in the Spotlight of Graduate’s Research

Paternity Leave in the Spotlight of Graduate’s Research
Master of Laws cum laude graduate Ms Nontuthuko Zuma.

Master of Laws cum laude graduate Ms Nontuthuko Zuma’s research supports the introduction of paternity leave provisions as they will create equality between men and women in South Africa.

The comparative study titled: “Paternity Leave: The Benefits for South African Fathers in Comparison to Fathers in Foreign Jurisdictions. How Progressive Laws Governing Paternity leave are in South Africa", focuses on what South African legislators could learn from jurisdictions in Kenya and the United Kingdom if and when paternity leave is enacted in our legislation.

‘Studies have shown that children that have present fathers are more likely to do better than children who do not,’ said Zuma.

‘South Africa is a country that is in need of both equality as well as more involved fathers therefore if paternity leave provisions are introduced in South Africa it could be very beneficial to society as a whole. I think South Africa is really close to introducing paternity leave in its legislation and it will be interesting to see if it is modelled in a similar way to the way I think it will be,’ she added.

The Candidate Attorney who aspires to become a commercial law attorney says possessing this qualification will definitely be beneficial for her career pursuits.

‘I have always been passionate about doing Law and after completing my LLB degree, I was interested in studying further. With any sort of qualification I think the biggest sacrifice that one makes is your time. I worked part-time and was enrolled as a full-time student so that helped when it came to juggling the two. I cannot say right now if it is beneficial to my career or not but it is something that I wanted to do,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Future Looks Rosy for Law Cum Laude Graduates

Future Looks Rosy for Law <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduates
Law cum laude graduates.

The future looks bright for Law cum laude graduates Ms Nabeela Edris, Mr Ntokozo Mbeje, Ms Arlia Alli, Ms Kerushnie Govender, Ms Ajekai Adjei, Ms Nomfundo Mashinge and Ms Jolene Thompson, who are looking forward to exploring opportunities open to them in the legal sector.

At only 22, Edris already has a lot going for her as she is currently serving her articles at law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in Johannesburg and is an entrepreneur and founder of the sleepwear brand, Majesty.

‘I pursued an LLB degree because I have always enjoyed searching for solutions by thinking out of the box and mastering effective communication,’ said Edris. ‘These are the skills required to enjoy this degree and to move forward in the legal profession and my business. My most memorable experience during my degree was participating in the Moot Court during which I researched particular areas of the law and got a taste of litigating in a mock trial,’ she said.

Edris is working toward getting admitted as an attorney and climb her way up the ladder to directorship of a big corporate as well as expanding her business to create jobs, thus contribute more substantially to the South African economy.

Mbeje, whose areas of interest are in litigation and intellectual property, says even though his first career option was to become an astronaut he doesn’t regret choosing Law.

‘Growing up, there were really three options my friends and I had - becoming a doctor, a lawyer or an astronaut!

‘Watching a lot of movies and series assisted in my overall decision-making. Lawyers were always portrayed as calm and collected. They always had a way out and that was the kind of person I wanted to be,’ said Mbeje.

Mbeje who is currently serving his articles at Adams & Adams says re-activating the students’ branch of the Black Lawyer’s Association on the Pietermaritzburg campus was his biggest achievement after graduating cum laude. Now he is looking forward to even bigger and better things.

‘In 2015, my friends and I decided to reactivate the Association as the branch was last active five years prior and law students on the campus could really benefit from this platform. That was a watershed moment for us because we had moved from the ongoing concerns of varsity life and assessment pressure to focusing on change outside our immediate circle and revived something bigger than us which would continue long after we had left the Law School,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Hard Work Pays Off for Summa Cum Laude BCom Graduates

Hard Work Pays Off for <em>Summa Cum Laude</em> BCom Graduates
From left: Ms Candice Ramnarain, Ms Sasha-Lee Govender, Ms Serisha Sukdeo and Ms Sarisha Naidoo.

Dedication and hard work have been the common denominator for four Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduates who obtained their degrees summa cum laude.

Ms Sasha-Lee Govender, Ms Sarisha Naidoo, Ms Candice Ramnarain and Ms Serisha Sukdeo agreed their experience at UKZN has been both challenging and rewarding.

Being a high achiever, Ramnarain said personal challenges included reduced time with family and friends, and missing out on family functions and gatherings.

‘I thought it would be impossible but I powered through. Looking back, I now realise that had I not dedicated myself I wouldn’t have accomplished many of my goals.’

She said conducting research for her quantitative dissertation was the highlight.

Her research titled: “The Relationship Between the Onboarding Programme and Employee Engagement Among Junior Lecturers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal”, found there was a strong correlation between the variables.

‘The dissertation taught me various skills such as having good team dynamics, leadership, responsibility and working under highly pressured circumstances.’

Ramnarain’s achievement has earned her a scholarship to pursue her masters degree.

Aspirant business owner, Naidoo thanked her family for their support and encouragement, especially her mother for contributing to her success.

‘There were many nights that I stayed over on campus, in one of the lans, to pull in all-nighters - many of my classmates would stay over as well.

‘Although it may not sound fun, these nights were really something. Other highlights include getting to spend time with some amazing and interesting people.’

Govender said her studies allowed her to grow as an individual and exposed her to different people and environments.

‘Over the years I have developed strong relationships with class mates who I am still in contact with and some have become my closest friends.’

In the last year of her undergraduate studies, Govender achieved a cum laude pass and received a Department of Science and Technology (DST) Innovations Scholarship from the National Research Foundation which funded her Honours degree. She obtained certificates of merit for six out of seven modules.

A systems analyst at FNB Service Provider and Connect in Johannesburg, Govender said a degree in IT opened up many opportunities.

‘A degree in IT means I have to be involved in many interesting projects such as designing and developing websites and mobile applications.

‘I was also selected by the University to participate in the FNB Codefest where teams come together to implement a project over a period of 48 hours - a thrilling and challenging experience.’

‘I would not be where I am without my parents. They have supported me throughout my degree both financially and emotionally and have made many sacrifices for me. Completing a degree comes with a lot of stress and difficulties and having a good support system makes all the difference,’ added Govender.

Govender graduated together with her cousin Mr Kyle Govender who received a Mechanical Engineering degree.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Love of Law the Clincher for Summa Cum Laude Graduates

Love of Law the Clincher for <em>Summa Cum Laude</em> Graduates
Law summa cum laude graduates celebrating their success.

Academic excellence is a principle that continues to yield brilliant results for Law summa cum laude graduates Ms Shamilla Mpinga and Mr Benjamin Meadows, Ms Charissa Beyers, Ms Claire Gillespie and Ms Melissa Tees.

Mpinga, who has been offered a good job by law firm Bowman Gilfillan, has a string of accolades and achievements to her name.  They include:

‘I was awarded a UKZN entrant scholarship while I was in matric and law became the obvious choice,’ said Mpinga. ‘My decision was confirmed when I was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship which was renewed until I completed my degree. Having been fully funded throughout my degree relieved my family of the financial strain so this was a sign that I had made a wise choice because I thrived in my chosen field of study.’

Her love for the law has seen her serving the community through her involvement with the community outreach programme - Stop Hunger Now - and she is looking forward to exploring the opportunities this experience will unlock for her.

‘Having this degree has opened up a world of opportunities for me. Apart from the corporate sector, there are many opportunities in the public sector while academia is another field to explore. Therefore, I am pursuing a Master’s in Mineral Law degree at the University of Cape Town as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. On completion of my masters I will commence my articles at Bowman Gilfillan,’ she said.

Using his BCom degree which he obtained summa cum laude in 2015 as a good grounding in law, Meadows is looking forward to exploring his options within the legal sector.

Being a top achiever representing UKZN at the 2014 University Sports South Africa (USSA) competition, and competing in last year’s Moot Court final in Pietermaritzburg were highlights for Meadows.

‘I have always been fascinated by law and luckily got the opportunity of competing in the Moot final which was a unique and enjoyable experience,’ said Meadows. ‘I am currently completing my articles of clerkship at Cox Yeats and intend to pursue a career as an attorney. I hope that my experiences at UKZN will hold me in good stead.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Research by Masters Graduate Explores Central Issues in SA’s Constitutional Democracy

Research by Masters Graduate Explores Central Issues in SA’s Constitutional Democracy
Mr Nkosinathi Mzolo.

Master of Laws graduate Mr Nkosinathi Mzolo addressed central issues in South Africa’s constitutional democracy in research for his degree.

His study was titled: “The Rule of Law, the Principle of Legality and the Test for Rationality: A Critical Analysis of South African Jurisprudence in the Light of the Separation of Powers”.

Inspired by the addresses of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at previous Law Graduation ceremonies, Mzolo saw research as the perfect avenue to respond to the question raised by the prominent speakers about what the role of law students is in South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

‘The growing observation of the crisis in our current leadership has been one of the most worrying factors. The dominance of greed and ulterior motives in decision making as I perceive it, has tainted the integrity and moral campus of our leadership; robbing us of our democracy,’ said Mzolo.

Growing up in Abebhuze in Cato Ridge, he worked as a taxi conductor and then taxi driver for a year to raise funds for his and his sister’s university registration fees.

Mzolo, now a Graduate Teaching Assistant at UKZN’s Law School, has always appreciated the value of education. This led to him getting an LLB after his Bachelor of Arts and now an LLM which he considers to be key qualifications in his aspirations of being an academic and a human rights lawyer.

‘Our role is not limited to developing, supporting and engaging with our societies towards defining and realising justice. We need to uphold and defend the values of the constitution and as such hold the society true to its values. We also need to tackle sensitive issues like land and economy in future,’ says Mzolo.

Mzolo was recently appointed to serve as a disciplinary committee member of the South African Football Association’s Umgungundlovu Regional League where he contributes to the prosecution and chairing sessions aimed at developing soccer in the area.

‘Some ground-breaking decisions we make reveal a lot about the gross abuses of our functionaries against innocent and illiterate people. Through this qualification I can say I am better positioned to make decisions especially on issues of discerning the truth in every situation,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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LLM Cum Laude for Tax Specialist

LLM <em>Cum Laude</em> for Tax Specialist
Tax Specialist Mr John Hardie.

John Hardie earned a cum laude pass for a Master of Laws, which involved both a dissertation and course work in advanced tax law, company law and contract law.

The dissertation was titled: “A critical and comparative analysis of the expression ‘ordinarily resident’ as a criterion for determining the place of residence of an individual in the context of Income Tax legislation in South Africa and certain other jurisdictions”.

The dissertation dealt with the income tax consequences of the termination of an individual’s tax residence, particularly on emigration, through an analysis of the legislation, case law and guidelines, primarily in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The dissertation was written under the guidance of his supervisor and UKZN Tax Specialist, Professor Rob Williams.

He says juggling a busy tax practice, family and studies was more difficult than expected but ‘studying is good for the soul, it stretches the boundaries of your knowledge, it keeps you mentally stimulated, it helps you to network, it makes you aware of opportunities and risks within your field of expertise, and generally helps you deal with an ever changing world.’

Hardie maintains that initial concerns about meeting the academic standards, whilst dealing with a busy schedule and tackling the course late in life, were eased through the excellent support from the School of Law. ‘It was really daunting attending the first LLM lecture where I was not only twice the age of the oldest person in the class, but I was out of my depth enrolling in a Master in Laws course when I had a finance background’.

‘In my opinion, the heart of the success of the School of Law in Pietermaritzburg stems from its academic staff, which includes some of the finest academics in the country such as Professor Williams and Professor Robert Sharrock both of whom have not only published extensively but are recognised as authorities in their field. Also on the staff is one of South Africa’s foremost Law Librarians, Rosemary Kuhn.

‘Then there’s a stable and efficient academic IT platform, Moodle and dependable support from Robynne Louw.’


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PhD Research Aims to Benefit Academics and Higher Education Institutions

PhD Research Aims to Benefit Academics and Higher Education Institutions
Dr Suvera Boodhoo.

Doctor of Philosophy graduate Dr Suvera Boodhoo’s research is aimed at benefiting Higher Education Institutions and academics.

‘My study focused on the perceptions of academics and students of how the University of KwaZulu-Natal has adopted the United Nation (UN) supported initiative, Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), to ensure responsible and sustainable management education in South Africa,’ said Boodhoo.

Highlights during her studies included interacting with diverse individuals within the UKZN community.

She says her studies were extremely difficult at times, however her family’s support and understanding assisted her in maintaining a balance.

Currently an academic at the University of Witwatersrand, Boodhoo advised doctoral candidates to never give up because ‘difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.

‘I had a mix of feelings during my doctoral studies as there were numerous highs and lows during this journey. The support and invaluable guidance from my supervisor Professor Sanjana Brijball Paramasur enriched my experience.’

Sithembile Shabangu

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Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degrees for Six Graduates

Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degrees for Six Graduates
Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduates who were awarded their degrees cum laude.

Six College of Law and Management Studies students received their Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree cum laude.

They are Ms Paulette Govindasamy, Ms Nazeerah Hussain, Ms Shivani Moodley, Ms Slindelo Msimango, Ms Rylla Pillay and Ms Aruna Seerpath.

Top of her class, Moodley said studying at UKZN challenged and enhanced her intellectual ability while opening up a variety of opportunities for her to network.

‘In my honours year I was selected to participate in the 10th Annual African, American and European Summer School. This was an interdisciplinary and intercultural study programme, during which I interacted with students from UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses, Wits and Technische Universitat Chemnitz in Germany.

‘I also had the privilege of presenting a paper titled: “Personality as a Motivational Driver in Social Entrepreneurship" at the 2016 Business Management Conference.

‘I built strong relationships with my lecturers and mentors, and this is a highlight because these relationships have helped me grow and succeed in my academic career,’ said Moodley. 

She feels her graduation is a victory for millions of students who work hard regardless of the challenges and circumstances.

‘In my matric year I had great difficulty passing Maths and Physical Science, but I continued to do my best and eventually I passed with five distinctions and the highest in the grade for business studies plus the good Fellowship Award.

‘In my first year at University I failed quantitative maths dismally. I repeated the module the following year and scored 100% in the first test. At the end of it all, I walked away with my Honours degree cum laude.

‘By sharing my academic trials and tribulations I hope many students will be inspired and empowered to push forward regardless of the hurdles along the way. After all, anything is possible,’ said Moodley.

Seerpath, who did her Honours on Information Systems and Technology, said with the rapid changes in technology today, the degree would equip her with the necessary skills to prepare for the changes.

‘If you have a passion for coding or analysis these degrees are definitely for you.  Yes, it may sometimes be challenging but when you are doing what you love and what you are good at, it’s all worth it,’ said Seerpath.

Currently employed by First National Bank as a Software Developer in the Digital Banking Business Unit, she intends studying further. ‘Education is very important and I believe that it is the only tool that can help reshape the world.’

She acknowledged her family and friend’s support for contributing to her success.

Pillay said being invited to be a member of the Golden Key Honours Society was a highlight of her studies. She also received several other certificates.

‘Any Commerce degree is difficult initially but as you go through the years it becomes easier. Human Resources is rewarding if you have a passion for people and helping others in a business context. I highly recommend it.’

Msimango says the University has given her the right tools she needs to achieve all her goals. She said during her studies at the University, she has experienced a number of things but most importantly she learnt to be true to herself and being independent as a young Black woman.

‘UKZN was the first place where I was able to introduce myself independently to the world, allowing myself to be whoever I want to be,’ said Msimango.

Her research was titled: “Productivity Challenges on Off-Campus Residence Students: Westville Campus”.

She said her biggest challenge was being away from her daughter who has also been her motivation to do well in her studies.

She is currently employed in the Department of Health’s Zululand District.

Hussain said her studies have exposed her to a ‘multitude of responsibilities, procedures, deadlines, diversity, communication challenges and leadership styles’.

She said functioning in these environments has equipped her with the knowledge and understanding of how to successfully manage people, high pressure situations and adherence to deadlines.

‘I am multi-talented and have a passion for Human Resources. I work systematically to achieve my goals successfully as an individual and I also possess the ability to thrive within teams or groups.’

In her motivation to other students, Hussain said: ‘We live in a society where people are trained from day one to instil mental limits on themselves which eventually cage them up into a box that they spend the rest of their lives trying to escape from.

'It makes them think they have to have somebody's authority or permission, when in reality, you don’t. The only person holding yourself back is you. You are capable of nothing less than greatness. The only person you should be competing with is yourself.’ 

She acknowledged her parents, friends and family who have been her pillars of strength, believed in her and motivated her into achieving her goals. 

Sithembile Shabangu

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Law PhD Graduate’s Research Provides Critical Insight in HIV-Related Legislation

Law PhD Graduate’s Research Provides Critical Insight in HIV-Related Legislation
Dr Patrick Eba celebrating his achievement with his father and renowned Ivorian surgeon Dr Eba Manlan Etienne.

As a Senior Human Rights and Law Adviser at the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) based in Geneva, Switzerland, PhD graduate Dr Patrick Eba will utilise insights gained from his doctoral experience to support better law-making on HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and globally.

‘My current work involves a lot of research and writing on health and HIV-related legal and human rights issues. In this line of work, having an academic qualification that demonstrates your expertise is an asset. I hope that the degree will also provide me with further career opportunities in my current line of work or in other areas of the Law and human rights,’ said Eba.

Eba’s thesis titled: “Righting Laws: An appraisal of human rights in the context of HIV and their applicability to the normative content and implementation of HIV-specific laws in sub-Saharan Africa” offers the first ever comprehensive review of the normative content and implementation challenges in the 27 HIV-specific laws that have been adopted in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade.

According to Eba, the study supervised by Dr Ann Strode shows that these HIV-specific laws provide only limited protection to people living with HIV and those vulnerable to the epidemic, and that most of these laws use punitive approaches.

‘The thesis also demonstrates that many challenges to the implementation of HIV-specific laws are due to their inadequate content. It concludes with recommendations for developing “smarter legislation” in the context of HIV that are based on human rights norms and public health evidence and that address key technical, political and participatory issues to enable their effective implementation. Overall, it is a critical reminder of the importance of human rights for effective responses to HIV and other health challenges like Ebola,’ he said.

The quality of this ground-breaking research has resulted in chapters being published in several peer-reviewed journals.

A chapter analysing the composition, mandate, powers and case law of the HIV tribunal of Kenya was published by the Health and Human Rights Law Journal; while commentary on Ebola and Human Rights in Africa was published in The Lancet.

An article published in Reproductive Health Matters summarises recommendations from the thesis to guide better law-making on HIV and health.

‘This article on the HIV tribunal of Kenya  was referred to as a key source by researchers and policy makers aiming to understand the work of this tribunal which is the only HIV-specific judicial body in the world,’ said Eba.

‘Similarly, the commentary on Ebola and Human Rights in Africa is referred to as a key source on the human rights challenges raised during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015.

‘Finally, findings from the research were also presented during the 18th International AIDS Conference held in Durban in July last year,’ said Eba.

Eba added that he was grateful to his family, colleagues and friends for their support during the challenging three years which required him to balance family responsibilities, employment and his studies. 

Thandiwe Jumo

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Law Scholar Graduates with Masters Degree in International Trade

Law Scholar Graduates with Masters Degree in International Trade
Walking with purpose: Master of Laws graduate Mr Nikhiel Deeplal.

Assessing the role and function of the World Trade Organization and its impact on international trade was the focus of Master of Laws graduate Mr Nikhiel Deeplal’s study titled: “The effect of the Agreement on Agriculture on the relationship between South African and the European Union”.

The research, supervised by Ms Claudinia Stevens, focused on the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture.

‘The study assesses how South Africa and the European Union have implemented this agreement through bi-lateral Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement and the economic effect of such an agreement on trade and particular on agricultural trade between South Africa and the European Union,’ said Deeplal.

The international scholar holds a certificate in International Relations from the Symbiosis International University, Pune, India; completed a short course in mediation at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands and upon his return to South Africa has worked for Lawyers for Human Rights Refugee and Migrants Rights Unit, and consulted for the Nelson Mandela Foundation and UNICEF.

‘I have been consulted by the Land Bank of South Africa who are interested in my research and having me advise them on agricultural trade projects. I have also been working with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in France and this research has helped me further understand the European Union. Hence, having an understanding of the international landscape and political environment helps me to understand South Africa’s position in the world,’ she said.

Looking to the future, Deeplal is considering pursuing a PhD and exploring the inter-connectivity of politics and law.

Sibonelo Shinga

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Research Explores Role of Human Resources in Greening Efforts and Natural Resource Conservation

Research Explores Role of Human Resources in Greening Efforts and Natural Resource Conservation
Dr Vuyokazi Mtembu.

Global challenges associated with the depletion of natural resources and ecological degradation are what motivated doctoral graduate and Graduate School of Business and Leadership academic Dr Vuyokazi Mtembu to research the role of the HR division in greening efforts and natural resource conservation.

Through the study titled: “Green Human Resource Management Towards Sustainable Organisations: A Case of KwaZulu-Natal Higher Education Institutions”, Mtembu gives insight into how HR practitioners understand and implement greening efforts and natural resource conservation as HR is one of the key strategic partners in organisations.

The findings of the study revealed that the majority of HR practitioners in the institutions surveyed had a perception that promoting resource efficiency and greening did not fall under the mandate of the HR division and therefore they didn’t see a need for them to contribute towards greening efforts.

‘Issues of environmental sustainability, greening etc. affect us all. These issues are vital and inseparable from society as their consequences have an impact in societies,’ says Mtembu.

‘A notable number of HR practitioners reflected limited knowledge and understanding of what Green HRM encompasses. As a result, the HR division plays a minimal role towards greening initiatives within the institutions. Although there is hope for the future, through activities such as recruitment and performance management, there has been a greater improvement towards application of green and resource efficient methods.’

Looking to the future, Mtembu will use this qualification to grow her academic career, contribute to the development of our societies and to address the shortage of Black South African academics in the country.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Research Explores the Right to Just Administrative Action within Labour Law

Research Explores the Right to Just Administrative Action within Labour Law
Master of Laws cum laude graduate Mr Andile Khumalo.

Determining the correct standard that is applicable to the review of arbitration awards issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is the focus of Master of Laws cum laude graduate Mr Andile Khumalo’s research.

The research titled: “The grounds for Reviewing CCMA Arbitration Awards: A Critical Assessment of whether the Courts’ Interpretation thereof gives Adequate Effect to the Fundamental Right to Just Administrative Action” was influenced by the ground-breaking judgment of the Constitutional Court (CC) in Sidumo & another v Rustenburg Platinum Mines Ltd & others 2008 (2) SA 24 (CC); (2007) 28 ILJ 2405 (CC) (Sidumo), where the CC held that the just administrative action provisions in section 33 of the 1996 Constitution form the basis for reviewing CCMA arbitration awards. It also takes into consideration the judgements handed down by the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) which offer conflicting approaches to the right to just administrative action within the labour law sphere.

Khumalo’s research primarily investigates which of these conflicting approaches to the standard of review – and therefore to the right to just administrative action – is supported by the weight of LAC and SCA judgments.

‘The findings on that issue provide significant insight into which of the approaches to the standard of review represents an accurate statement of the law. To achieve that objective, the study analyses 124 judgments of the LAC and the SCA handed down since Sidumo,’ said Khumalo.

‘The analysis of those judgments has revealed that the SCA’s approach to the standard of review in Herholdt is supported by the weight of LAC and SCA judgments. The question then arises as to whether the delineation of the standard of review by the SCA gives adequate protection to the fundamental right to just administrative action in section 33 of the 1996 Constitution. No research has been conducted on that issue as yet,’ he added.

Khumalo who is currently serving his articles of clerkship with law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc is looking forward to using this qualification to contribute meaningfully to the legal sector.

‘Beyond the obvious benefit of better employment prospects though, my hope in reading towards a Master’s degree in Law has always been to acquire expert knowledge of the South African legal system and to utilise that knowledge to contribute meaningfully to the development of our legal system in particular and our country in general,’  he said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Graduate Explores “Garden Leave”

UKZN Graduate Explores “Garden Leave”
Ms Aamina Danka.

A new concept in South African law, garden leave, has Masters in Business Law graduate Ms Aamina Danka’s heart racing.

When Danka initially explored topical issues in Corporate Law and Tax Law she was not too impressed. ‘The moment I heard of garden leave my heart started pounding furiously with excitement because it is an entirely new concept in South African law and I had the opportunity to explore and examine it,’ she said.

‘Garden leave is involved when an employee gives notice for the termination of their employment, the employer may require the person to spend either all or a part of the notice period not working, thereby allowing confidential information the employee had access to, to become stale and simultaneously the employee is kept out of a competitor’s clutches. The employee remains in the employer’s employ.

‘However, the employee is entitled to remuneration during the garden leave period and must be available to the employer should their assistance be needed,’ said Danka.

Her thesis, which critically examines restraint of trade in the South African employment context, was titled: “A Discussion Surrounding Restraint of Trade in Employment Law”.

Danka said for a restraint of trade clause to be enforceable in a court of law, both employer and employee need to satisfy certain requirements. ‘In February 2016, in a case that was the first of its kind in South African law, the Labour Court in Vodacom (Pty) Ltd v Godfrey Motsa and MTN Group Ltd (2016) 37 ILJ 1241 (LC) set a precedent as it did not only consider the concept of garden leave and its relationship, if any, with a restraint of trade but also upheld the garden leave provision.’

Danka is grateful to all those who supported and assisted her on her journey to completing her masters. ‘I am immensely grateful to the Almighty for granting me the courage and strength to attain a postgraduate degree. I am thankful for and indebted to my mum, without whom not a single of my achievements would have been possible. Her unwavering support, understanding, guidance and advice made getting my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees much easier. I also thank my siblings as they made my year bearable. I am also grateful to my supervisor Mr Darren Subramanien for his guidance, understanding, expertise, timeous feedback and advice.’

Danka hopes to be admitted as an attorney and practice law. During her masters, she co-authored two articles, attended lectures, submitted assessment and wrote examinations. ‘I love challenges and constantly require them, and my masters year provided that. I can now say I enjoyed it all - the sweat, frustration, anger, laughter, happiness, and tears.’

During her spare time, she enjoys hiking, playing and watching sport and participating in conversations which spark debate.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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CEO of Mhlathuze Water in Richards Bay Awarded Cum Laude Masters Degree

CEO of Mhlathuze Water in Richards Bay Awarded <em>Cum Laude</em> Masters Degree
Mr Mthokozisi Duze.

"A Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction for Local Government: A Case Study of eThekwini Municipality", was the title of a Master of Administration study which earned Mr Mthokozisi Duze a cum laude pass.

Duze is currently the interim CEO at Mhlathuze Water, a water utility based in Richards Bay, however his permanent position is that of Deputy Director General responsible for Development and Planning at KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). He has served COGTA at various levels as a Chief Director responsible for disaster management and a Chief Director responsible for Special Initiatives.

His research, under the guidance of UKZN’s Public Governance expert, Professor Purshottama Reddy, explored the methods to reduce risk or exposure of citizens to disasters. The study provides systematic steps and processes that should be followed in mitigation and risk profiling by communities as part of planning and involvement in decision making.

Disaster practitioners will benefit from the study as it will serve as a reference source towards developing systematic disaster risk reduction plans for most municipalities that may not have these.

Though he has served in senior positions in the public sector his passion for teaching is yet to be fulfilled. To realise this, he intends pursuing doctoral studies and exploring academia in a quest to impart knowledge and bridge the gap between theoretical and practical aspects of learning.

Duze thanked his two children and supportive wife for their encouragement throughout his studies. He also praised the support from UKZN saying: ‘The academic support system the UKZN has is second to none and it would be an honour to publish under my supervisor’s guidance and to enroll for a PhD at this Institution of visionaries.’

Commenting on his student Reddy said: ‘Mr Duze is highly motivated and extremely hard working. Despite the initial challenges of getting to the basics of the Discipline, he persevered and has emerged as an exemplary postgraduate student. I have encouraged him to pursue a doctorate.’

Hazel Langa

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PhD Graduate Experiences "Best of Both Worlds"

PhD Graduate Experiences
Dr Kriyanka Moodley.

For doctoral graduate Dr Kriyanka Moodley her PhD journey has resulted in a career in academia and the market research industry.

Moodley who worked as a Research Assistant at the College of Law and Management Studies and Teaching and Learning Office during her studies, is currently working on building her own company.

‘From the onset of my PhD journey I knew I wanted the best of both worlds. I did not want to pick academia or industry- so I am doing both. I feel that my PhD is only the beginning of my career in academia.  For me this PhD was a “research apprenticeship". I am now currently at the bottom of the academic food chain and have a lot to learn, I also want to share and continue my research,’ said Moodley.

Through her research, which explores the connection to the larger cultural narrative of separatism and the suffering this spawns collectively, and currently Moodley aims to contribute to knowledge on the underlying structural basis for Eco-system awareness emergence. The study was supervised by Professor Kriben Pillay.

‘The turn to embracing Eco-system Awareness mirrors the greater connectivity that is inherent within us, but which is obscured by this cultural narrative. The selected model Theory U, deals with forms of introspection and attention-based practice that help restore this connection to the greater whole,’ says Moodley.

‘One of the biggest challenges for me was that I was constantly feeling the need to think like someone who was older opposed to a 20 something year old. Once I started contextualizing my own experience I began to see the depth and boldness of my own research. While the research is based on self-reflections it was not about me but more about the platform that I had to explore this intriguing and complex area.’

Looking to the future, Moodley who recently got engaged to her fiancé Nishkar Maharaj looks forward to using her qualification to grow her career. She acknowledges that she could not have achieved this success without the support of her family, the valuable guidance of her supervisor and the support of her former colleagues in the College of Law and Management Studies.

Thandiwe Jumo

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