Pretoria Bar names best LLB final year students for 2019

August 13th, 2020
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By Kgomotso Ramotsho

University of Limpopo LLB graduate, Besty Nchabeleng, was awarded the Judge Bernard Ngoepe trophy for the best final year LLB student 2019, by the Pretoria Society of Advocates.

Aspiring legal practitioner and LLB graduate from the University of Limpopo, Besty Nchabeleng, was awarded the Judge Bernard Ngoepe trophy for the best final-year LLB student by the Pretoria Society of Advocates during a virtual graduation ceremony earlier this year. The 22-year-old, who is currently based in Pretoria, told De Rebus that she did not expect that she would receive an award, although she pointed out that, she is a hard worker and there has always been high expectations for her, a teacher’s child, to excel in her studies.

Ms Nchabeleng added that while she was still in high school, she wanted to be one of three things, namely, a teacher, an accountant or a legal practitioner. However, her perception towards teaching changed as she saw what teaching did to her mother and she decided she did not want to deal with children at school. Ms Nchabeleng, however, said that her first year as a law student was tough as she struggled with her studies. She pointed out that there was a lot of reading and the legal terms were challenging. She said that while on holiday at home, with the advice and support of her family, she found a mentor who helped her to adjust to and understand her studies.

‘I joined a mentorship programme and in my second year I started to enjoy my studies’, she said. She also gave credit to a non-profit organisation, Advocate Zondeka Makondo African Law Project, that was formed by her fellow students, which included the 69-year-old retired Colonel Phillip Dhlamini, who also recently graduated with his LLB (see Kgomotso Ramotsho ‘An LLB degree at 69 proves it is never too late to study’ 2020 (July) (www.derebus.org.za)). Ms Nchabeleng said it was during the #FeesMustFall movement that she experienced the practical side of the legal profession when the Advocate Zondi Makhonto movement went to court over fees, in the case of Matshidiso and Others v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others (GP) (unreported case no 75657/2016, 12-10-2016). It was then that she saw that the legal profession was exciting.

Ms Nchabeleng told De Rebus that she is currently preparing for pupillage, however, she pointed out that she is not sure of her next move, on whether she will start practicing after she has completed her pupillage. She added that it is now that she realised that she is more of an academic and might want to focus on that rather than practice law fulltime. Ms Nchabeleng said that she would have to go back to the drawing board to figure out her next move.

University of Venda LLB graduate, Evidence Mathiva, was awarded the McCaps Motimele SC trophy for the best final LLB student 2019.

Another LLB student, Evidence Mathiva, walked away with the McCaps Motimele SC trophy for the Best Final Year LLB Student. The 25-year-old, who hails from Limpopo, who completed her studies at the University of Venda in 2018 but graduated in 2019, is currently completing her internship in Law Research at the Constitutional Court. Ms Mathiva said after her grandmother – who raised her – passed away in 2012, she had to stand up for herself. She added that people would tell her not to worry about acquiring success as she will one day get married to man who will take care of her. Ms Mathiva pointed out that such a statement made her worry about the patriarchy around women, she then decided to study law to take a closer look into women’s rights and also fulfil her dreams.

Ms Mathiva said that she is passionate about human rights and cannot wait to serve her articles of clerkship, so that she can practice law full-time. She said that when she was informed that she had won the award for the best final year student, she was so excited. ‘I cannot describe the feeling. What a time to be alive,’ Ms Mathiva added. She pointed out she would like to become a judge one day and she is inspired by the first female President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Mandisa Maya, and the first black female Constitutional Court Judge and retired Justice, Yvonne Mokgoro.

Both Ms Nchabeleng and Ms Mathiva were awarded their awards by the Pretoria Society of Advocates. The awards ceremony was held in Gauteng.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.