The School of Law is proud of its 14 LLB candidates who graduated cum laude.
They include Ms Therina Rangasamy; Mr Macalen Chetty; Ms Taylar Gilbert; Ms Keyura Singh; Ms Akira Rajnarain; Ms Alycia Pramlall; Mr Tariq Kajee; Ms Tadiwanashe Mashaireni; Ms Thasuraya Rajah; Ms Kiara Munsamy; Ms Keroshnie Iyer; Ms Annalise Thulapersad; Mr Imraan Akoo and Ms Farrah Alsayed.
Rangasamy, who is pursuing a Master of Laws in Medical Law, said that it was difficult to adapt to online learning halfway through her degree.
The cherry on top will be sharing her graduation with her 88-year-old grandfather.
‘Growing up, my grandfather was involved in a non-profit organisation which I also joined. This community-based outreach work shaped me into the person I am today. He was the first in his large family to obtain a degree in education and has always encouraged me. He hasn’t stopped talking about my graduation and I cannot wait for him to see me walk on that stage.’
Chetty has a stellar academic record, having obtained Dean’s Commendations in seven semesters, nine Certificates of Merit and three UKZN scholarships. Last year, he was a finalist in the School of Law’s Moot Court and he was awarded the Anand Nepaul Attorneys Prize for Best Criminal Procedure Student. He served as the College of Law and Management Studies’ representative on the SRC from 2020 to 2021 and as a mentor to LLB students and tutor to high school learners in his community. ‘My studies and experiences at UKZN have opened my mind and given me the knowledge and skills to be the best I can,’ he said. He dedicated his graduation to his mother who raised him single-handedly after his father’s death nine years ago and always supported his studies. Chetty is employed as a Candidate Legal Practitioner at ENSafrica.
Singh comes from a family of legal professionals and was motivated to study Law by witnessing how it protects people’s rights. ‘My late father was an attorney, and my elder sister is a prosecutor. My hope for the immediate future is to learn more about the practical application of the law. I hope that my work will make a difference,’ she said.
Rajnarain, who is currently enrolled for Practical Legal Training at UKZN’s School for Legal Practice, described studying Law as both enjoyable and challenging. She was awarded the Adams and Adams Prize for being the top first-year Law student and obtained 28 distinctions for modules, and 11 Certificates of Merits.
‘I studied tirelessly during the course of my four years and remained dedicated to excel in my modules,’ says Rajnarain.
She credited her family’s support for her achievements. She is also a recipient of the James Scott Wylie Trust Bursary Award for being one of the top three third-year Law students as well as an undergraduate scholarship in recognition of her excellent academic achievements in her final-year. She credited her family’s support for her achievements.
‘I managed to remain focused and resilient with the support of my family despite the challenges I encountered during my degree. They are immensely proud of my achievements and the recognition I have received thus far, especially because we come from humble beginnings.’
Pramlall is pursuing a Masters in Business Law after being awarded a postgraduate scholarship. ‘Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and online learning, my pursuit of academic excellence gained me accolades such as becoming a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, and achieving seven Dean’s Commendations and three Certificates of Merit. My parents are over the moon!’
Kajee initially wanted to study Medicine, but was accepted for Accounting and Law. He said that selecting Law was however, the best choice for him as he obtained 30 distinctions in 40 modules.
‘Studying at UKZN in my hometown was really lovely and I met people from different walks of life. I appreciated my final-year the most as our lecturers put so much effort into teaching us. They made studying at home in the middle of a pandemic so flexible and adaptable that it actually felt normal,’ he said.
He is currently employed as a Candidate Legal Practitioner at White & Case and is focused on passing his board exams and being admitted as a legal practitioner.
For Mashaireni, who was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, becoming a lawyer is her contribution to fighting the injustice she has experienced.
‘I grew up surrounded by a lot of injustice and as an immigrant, young Black woman potentially at the receiving end. I have two younger sisters for whom I want to make the world a better place. I hope to venture into Medical Law or Child Legal Protection. This qualification is the first step towards achieving that goal,’ she said.
Iyer, who is pursuing a Master of Laws in Maritime Law while working at a jewellery store, said she is proud of her achievement despite the difficulty of losing her father last year.
‘I watched my dad pass away in front of me just before my final exams in September. It was a haunting experience and life-changing in a terrible way. However, I pushed forward and still graduated cum laude, which was very difficult, but I still did it! My family is extremely happy and proud of how well I have done,’ she said.
Top achiever, Rajah obtained 21 distinctions for modules, nine Certificates of Merits, three scholarships and is currently pursuing her articles at Venns Attorneys.
‘My experience was bittersweet. The transition from campus to online studying was very difficult for all students. My dad died when I was very young and I am grateful to my mum who ensured that my sister and I were educated so that we can have a better future. My family is very proud of my achievements,’ she said.
Munsamy is pursuing a Master of Business Laws and attributes her success to hard work, faith and family.
‘A Law degree is a very beneficial qualification, especially in the current South African climate. I became more independent during my studies,’ she said. ‘Being a student demands a balanced lifestyle, a good support system and becoming the best version of yourself.’
Alsayed plans to use this qualification to achieve her career aspiration of becoming the greatest medical negligence attorney in South Africa.
‘I find this niche area of Law extremely interesting, I have always had a passion for Law as it suits my personality because I strongly believe in always doing what’s right with integrity. A Law degree opens many doors and gives one a much more liberal view of the world.
Akoo is a recipient of the 2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship, awarded to the top five undergraduate students in UKZN and awarded an undergraduate scholarship for academic excellence last year. He also obtained several Dean’s Commendations and certificates of merit.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of studying towards my degree. It was a little strange as COVID-19 came about right in the middle of the degree for my class. This however meant that we’d get to experience a couple of years of study on-campus as well as remote learning which I believe was valuable as it allowed us to see both sides and presented new challenges, forcing my cohort to adapt to the changing world,’ he said.
Akoo is currently employed as a Candidate Attorney at Allen & Overy.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photographs: Abhi Indarajan