Silulapwa’s Story: Memoirs from Law School

Listen up first years! My name is Rob and I got some stuff to something to say!

First off, Orientation.

Why is it important?

Since my final term of high school, I always had this passion to pursue a career in law. But my idea of what the law experience would be like was fueled by what I saw  on TV. You know, nice clothes, smooth talk, pacing and banging on desks.-that sort of jazz.

After my session of orientation at Unilus, I had a better understanding of how the law actually works in real life. Orientation helped me to map out the road ahead. It shed light on:

  • Who a lawyer is;
  • The level of commitment that would be expected of me for the next four years for me to end up with that LLB and become a lawyer.
  • The right motive for becoming a lawyer.

My law school experience

My 4 years as an undergrad can’t be described with just one word because it involved so many highlights with their own set of uniqueness. I’ll try to break it down though.

Most challenging

The most challenging time as an undergraduate for me would probably be my 1ST year, 1st semester. The transition from a high school to University  was quite overwhelming. Even orientation didn’t prepare me for how  to manage my time and how to split my work load.  Fortunately, I shook off the the anxiety during my final phase of that semester.I did this by taking advantage of the new opportunities life presented me such as moot, sport, and being the class representative.

My newly gained confidence helped curb all the other demands of university life.

Most memorable

I can neither single out one moment in time as being the most memorable nor can I list them all. However, the top two would be my 2nd year 1st semester and my 4th year.

It was during 2nd year 1st semester that I was selected to be part of the team that would represent the university at the first ever inter-varsity moot court competition to be held at the Supreme Court. My team and I went up against the formidable University of Zambia (UNZA) team. Our hard work surely paid off as we reigned triumph over our opponents. Personally (and I am sure anyone from my team would agree with me) this was a great milestone and going on to win it against a UNZA side (which I must say gave us quite a run and made us work hard for our victory). Being afforded practical and first-hand court room litigation was certainly a privilege I cannot forget.

This experience of course also resulted in our status being boosted to that of the “coolest law students” on campus.

In my fourth and  final year I was an active member of the university basketball team. My team and I went on to win the annual inter-varsity sports games where we represented Zambia  in the African Universities Sports competition, held in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Despite failing to get to the finals, the exposure and experience that I shared with my teammates was more than worthwhile.

Post-graduation (Welcome to the Real World)

Graduating from law school and finally ending my time as an undergraduate student really got me ecstatic for the journey ahead and next phase in life. I felt that I was ready to take on the world, oozing with confidence, and “bed rocked” on the knowledge acquired in the past 4 years, I believed I was surely ready to apply myself in society as a man of the law.

I should tell you that I didn’t get a job instantly but when I did,  I got a good bite of criminal and corporate law.

A Run with Criminal law

My first ever interaction with the law in the real word was when I served as a volunteer (later turned junior intern) at a Ngo called Undikumbukire Project (UP) Zambia. This organisation in conjunction with the German government instituted a project known as Juveniles for Justice ‘JFJ’, with an objective of providing advocacy aid and social support, to juveniles that came into conflict with the law.

I must admit that during this time, my application of the law to the various legal issues wasn’t like anything I had been taught at school.  It was only during my time as an intern that I was exposed to a plethora of court room acts or omissions which consequently hinder effective administration of justice.

Acts like excessive adjournments by the courts on a particular case stall proceedings and delay justice. This is problematic especially in cases relating to non-bailable offences. As a result, accused persons experience unjustified punishment through detention at a correctional facilities which is practically at odds with the ethos of constitutional ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

Omissions like the procedural requirements under the law for certain cases also result in injustices.For instance, in juvenile cases, it is required under the Juveniles Act that parents or guardians of the juvenile must be present at all stages of proceedings. However, in practice I got to witness some court sessions where this got dispensed with.

A Run with Corporate Law

I am currently working as a tax advisory assistant. Tax advisory is mostly routine work which involves  giving advise based on taxation. By virtue of me being a lawyer, the advice must be from a legal perspective. I do this pretty well, if I do say so myself!

My job also calls on investment and company law, which I was privileged to also take up as a course as a student.

When I made the switch from criminal law to corporate, it was quite a challenge. I had invested a lot of time in criminal proceedings and litigation. Thus, the early stages, it was quite a big ask of myself to leave my newly acquired comfort zone and choose a field such as taxation law, which I must confess is highly technical.

At present, I feel comfortable enough in my new role to consider specializing in Tax law in future. I should make mention that I owe it to UNILUS School of law for the chance to study tax law at undergraduate level.

The knowledge bestowed upon as a student certainly came to my aid and I still use some of in my application to various issues arising in my field of tax advisory.

The first time I met my current employers, I got asked why the switch from criminal to corporate? My response which by the way I have maintained to anyone else who gets to ask me is simply, “Why not?”

 Criminal v Corporate

Based on my personal experience, corporate matters are given much more attention and esteem than criminal ones. As a result, even, the matters tend to be presided over and concluded much quicker.

Based on this I can safely conclude that currently, monetary standing outweighs moral code calling for the delivery of effective justice, under the Zambian legal system.

Closing Remarks

I am still a young man; full of enthusiasm and my passion for the law has not changed a single bit. I believe I owe a duty to myself to get acquainted with various dimensions of the body of the law. You should too.

Thanks for your time!

Robert Makanta Siulapwa

There’s a Power in Written Word

A few years ago, one of my professors gave the class a project in which we had to identify and explain fundamental arguments by Mlada Bukovansky in a paper she had worked on entitled “The Hollowness of Anti-Corruption Discourse”. My analysis of her work went something like this (I have removed much of the previous content for a more reader-friendly experience):

‘…Today’s anti-corruption discourse rings hollow in its neglect of the moral core of the corruption concept, and this reduces its effectiveness.’

Bukovansky’s analysis of some key documents of a few major international institutions and organisations reveals that the definition for corruption is lacking. This is despite initiatives such as resolutions and conventions being in place. Nevertheless, the author concedes that the emphasis of the public rationale given in these documents about the reason why corruption is a bad thing are worth studying since they help to constitute anti-corruption efforts. For example, the World Bank states that corruption corrodes good governance and for this reason it must be tackled, interestingly enough, based on principles of good governance.

Perhaps the author is too hasty in stating that the public rationale are worth studying. This is because corruption is perceived differently by different states. Thus, providing the rationale for corruption without properly defining its scope and ambit clearly obscures the anti-corruption discourse and its application.

Other than failing to provide a clear definition of what corruption is, Bukovansky also argues that the discourse on anti-corruption is silent on ‘what needs to be done to engage leaders and citizens in deliberation about the substance of the public good, and the pursuit of collective ends.’ This argument favours the discourse on republican political liberty and civic virtue.

It differs from theories such as the rational choice theory by advocating the placement of the corruption scourge in the hands of the members of a particular state, as it is likely that patriotic commitment to the interest of the state, rather than self-interest, can weed out corruption. This can be attributed to the sense of ownership over the problem which is preferable to imposition from external forces.

Bukovansky provides her own reasons for why this theory is inadequate, amongst others, the fact that it does not rely on statistical data. Additionally, it may prove to be impossible engaging with every single person in the community in a bid to make them less selfish and more patriotic.

Notwithstanding the fact that good governance is a global issue, the work on anti-corruption mechanisms has been exercised by industrialised states and international institutions to the exclusion of developing countries, even though the majority of anti-corruption campaigns are aimed at developing countries.

As a result, external standards of anti-corruption have been imposed on societies that have not been part of defining them.

Bukovansky contends that this raises an ethical and a pragmatic problem. Essentially the scruples of holding developing states accountable to high international compliance standards and also the practicality and reasonableness of the expectations, are called into question. For instance, it is almost certain that a developing state would struggle financially to make structural reforms that are part and parcel of attaining good governance.

These allegations are central to the shortfalls of the anti-corruption discourse. Failing to accommodate the entities to which the crafting of standards apply mostly, is a clear oversight that has fundamental effect in the anti-corruption discourse.

Further, Bukovansky states that the dominant rationale for the anti-corruption consensus has been economic. This is line with the technical-instrumental approach to institutions and the rationalist economic methods which allege that there is a sense of complementarity between institutional effectiveness and economic performance. Consequently, industrialised Western states as well as institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and even the United Nations (UN), have embarked on institutional reform agenda which for the most part, are incompatible with the right to self-determination of mainly the developing states.

The priorities of these different states and institutions differ marginally. Furthermore, it is arguable that due to this, even the rate of development is not the same. Therefore, it is incorrect to argue that a state is corrupt based on the rate of development. Further still, one may ponder the interest of major power players in the affairs of lesser developed states which have little to offer the free market. Perhaps it could be for future interests which are currently unbeknown to the developing states.

This contention correctly criticizes the high pedestal which industrial countries put themselves. More importantly Bukovansky, rightfully points out that the difference in priorities leads to there being unworkable governance demands on developing country governments and societies.

In summation, Bukovansky points out gaping holes in the anti-corruption discourse which need attention. A concerted and truly genuine effort to address each of the issues she has raised is a step closer to making the discourse less hollow.

I love Bukovansky, and other dissenters, for the simple reason that their words make us think about things that most people see but pretend not to. It alerts the majority who may be unaware of some social problems and  gives them an opportunity to decide whether or not they want to care.

I believe it was Gideon Hausner who said in one of his most awesome indictments, that words were created to express what man’s mind can reason with and his heart can conceive. Following from that, dissenters and their words force us to think about people and when we do that, we give faces to victims of corruption, human suffering, poverty, and injustice.

Your words don’t have to resonate with serious things such as  human suffering, but what you should be aware of is that if you ever decide to express yourself in writing, you’ll always have an audience. Bukovansky has me, and I have you. There’s a power in our ‘voices’, whether they are heard or ‘seen’.

M.

 

Nutrition and WASH (Water,Sanitation,Hygiene)

Malnutrition, and more especially under-nutrition is a challenge and serious public health concern. Two in five children under five in Zambia are stunted, which indicates chronic malnutrition. Severely malnourished children are more likely to die in comparison to their well-nourished peers. Stunted physique is attributed to under-nutrition, micro-nutrient deficiencies, mono-diets and poor WASH practices (Water,Sanitation,Hygiene). Cognitive development is delayed or disrupted in stunted individuals who often have difficulty with school work and the vicious cycle of disease and poverty across generations is ongoing.

With the recent outbreak of cholera it is important to take a look at the impact of poor WASH practices on nutrition. Diarrhoea is an exacerbating factor in malnutrition, as it decreases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Malnutrition is associated with diarrhoea or with repeated intestinal worm infections caused by unsafe drinking water and/or poor sanitation and hygiene. . Furthermore, malnourished children are more likely to contract diarrhoea as their body’s are already weak, and the effect is cumulative. Provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to control the transmission of cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Long term control of water borne diseases such as cholera requires the development of piped water systems, safe sewage disposal and safe drinking water. At household level, sensitization on hand-washing practices before handling food, after urinating or defecating and boiling or chlorination of drinking water. Malnutrition is a multifaceted problem and requires attention in various sectors. Nutrition and WASH collaborations need to be strengthened.

Yours in mentoring,

Nakalembo Simwaka

Nutrition Professional

Poverty in Zambia

My interest in the topic Zambia’s Poverty levels stems from both a practical and theoretical awareness that something has gone horribly wrong in the economic balance of our nation. Poverty is an adversary that strongly exists in Africa and if we are to bridge the excruciating gap between the rich and the poor in Zambia we need to address the elephant in the room.

Zambia has been deemed one of the poorest countries in Africa and I believe if we educate ourselves and stand together to fight a common enemy we can win. In light of this fact, what can we as a country do about poverty levels in Zambia, to ensure that the next generation will have a fighting chance?

We know that the increase in income disparities are created when opportunities are not equitably spread as the economy grows. Zambia’s economy and population has increased over the years and so have poverty levels but what can be done to alleviate poverty in Zambia? A vast number of solutions have been brought forward on how the issue of poverty can be dealt with, some being the Zambian Government Development Plan 2017 and the Sustainable Development Goals which were coined together in September 2015.

The Zambian government has come up with its 7th Development Plan 2017-2021 called “Accelerating Development Efforts Towards Vision 2030 Without Leaving Anyone Behind”. This plan consists of 5 pillars:

  1. Economic diversification and job creation
  2. Poverty and Vulnerability
  3. Reduced developmental Inequalities
  4. Enhancing Human Development
  5. Conducive Governance Environment for Economic Diversification

The strategy of this plan is to create a diversified and robust economy that will sustain social economic growth and development. Not only this but available to us are the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

What are Sustainable Development goals?

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030 are a universal call to action to alleviate poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs work in the spirit of pragmatism and partnership to make the correct choices that will benefit the future generation and improve the quality of life.

The seventeen Development goals include;

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and well-being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean Energy
  8. Decent work and Economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

These SDGs are being used and integrated by most African countries into their Development plan to create more tangible out comes for their people. As is with Zambia, SDGs are visible as well in the Zambian development plan. With the Zambian Development plan and the SDGs, can we actually make a difference and reduce the levels of poverty by 2030 in Zambia?

If we are to achieve change and succeed with the SDGs and ZDP we need to priorities communal progress.  How do we do this? by ensuring that our leaders do not only focus on increasing the wealth of the country and improving its performance but by focusing on the well-being of Zambian citizens. These plans should not be dismissed but taken seriously and be executed well through proper management and distribution of resources. Not only this but we as citizens should educate ourselves and spread this knowledge so we can hold our leaders accountable and ensure that positive change is implemented. We ought not to dismiss mediocre performance just because we live in Africa but demand positive change, progress and results from our leaders. It starts with us, how much do you know of what is happening in your province and what you can do to impact positive change? If we focus on what needs to be done we can accomplish these goals as a nation and alleviate poverty in Zambia.

Yours in mentoring,

Sulwa Nakazwe

Business Information Systems Analyst

Unsolicited Goods and Services

In most instances, consumers have received goods and services that they did not demand for. Some consumers have even ended up paying for such unsolicited goods and services mainly because they never understood their rights and obligations. Thus, there is need to understand what constitutes unsolicited goods and services. Unsolicited goods or services are therefore, goods or services supplied to someone who has not asked for them or agreed to pay for them. It may also be any goods delivered to, or any services performed for, a consumer by a supplier without the consumer having expressly or implicitly requested that delivery or performance. Consumers may receive some goods without ordering them alongside an invoice asking them to pay. For example, you order ten (10) sachets of powdered milk and the supplier supplies you with two (2) extra sachets. The supplier then requests to be paid for the 2 extra sachets supplied to you. You are not obliged to pay for the extra supplies of sachets that have been imposed on you by the supplier.

The same applies with services where some service providers may do extra painting on your car after you clearly asked them to paint the left front door. The service provider took it upon themselves and painted the four (4) doors of your car and then demanded a payment 4 times the original price. You are not mandated to pay for the extra painting unless you agreed to it before they performed the service. In some instances, goods  or  services  that may be supplied are  materially  different  from  the  goods  or  services  previously supplied to an extent not reasonably contemplated in an agreement for the periodic delivery of goods. Unsolicited goods may also be goods delivered after the termination of an agreement. Nonetheless, consumers are not in a position to pay for such goods unless they willingly agree to do so.

Lastly but not the least, unsolicited goods may be goods delivered or services performed at a location, date or time other than as agreed. There are also situations where a consumer makes an order of goods and the supplier delivers goods  in  excess  of  the  quantity  that  the  consumer  agreed  to  buy.

It is however, illegal to supply goods and services that have not been requested for. For example, through the Competition and Consumer Protection Act Number 24 of 2010 (‘the Act’), administered by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), it is prohibited under Section 47(a)(iv) of the Act to supply unsolicited services to consumers.

CCPC received and investigated a number of complaints to do with unsolicited services. In one complaint, the consumer reported that the service provider initiated fixed monthly deductions from his salary without his consent. This constituted unfair trading practice and contravened section 47(a) (iv) of the Act. CCPC as per trend investigated the matter. CCPC found that the Complainant did not apply for any service and ordered the service provider to refund the Complainant all the money equivalent to the amount that was deducted without his consent. CCPC also fined the service provider according to the fines guidelines.

*Lastly, if as a consumer, you receive unsolicited goods or services, you don’t have to pay for them but inform the supplier. Thus, consumers are not obliged to pay for such unsolicited services. Service providers should therefore, desist from supplying unsolicited goods and services in order to avoid litigation and loss of revenue.

Yours in mentoring,

Bravo Muchuu

Provincial Investigator (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission)

 

*For comments or to lodge a complaint, write to the Director Consumer and education, P.O Box 34919. Lusaka.  Telephone: 222775/222787, Toll Free Line: 5678, Fax: 222789, e-mail: zcomp@ccpc.org.zm.

Will we experience inclusive growth ?

This article is also available on the Financial Insight Zambia website*

The rhetoric for the 2018 budget is “Accelerating fiscal fitness for sustained inclusive growth, without leaving anyone behind”. The Minister of Finance stated that one of the key macro-economic objectives of 2018 amongst other things, include a GDP growth of 5%. Subsequent, the IMF presented their IV report to the board and the fund praised the growth trajectory of Zambia and governments collective efforts to lift the economy out of its rescinding period experienced over the previous two years.  The IMF projected  the GDP growth for Zambia to be at 4.5% for 2018 .

So the question being pondered upon, is whether these projected growth levels will be felt by the poorest of people or will we as a nation “leave some behind?”. Growth is necessary for poverty reduction but growth in itself is not enough, it should be inclusive for it to be robust and sustainable. Therefore, the question posed in this article is what is Inclusive Growth? —And have we as a nation implemented the necessary structures to make sure we carry the entire population on this growth wave.

If the Government is to “leave no one behind” the government needs to increase on its social expenditure. Social spending increases average opportunities available for the population and dictates how opportunities are shared among the population. Inclusive growth is therefore based on the premise that growth within an economy should create opportunities that are evenly distributed to the population. Social expenditures such as spending on education and health are important for fostering inclusive growth and are closely linked to poverty reduction. Macro-financial stability in particular, inflation risks, credit to private sector as well as financial inclusion are critical for promoting inclusive growth.

Education is considered a primary weapon for the fight against poverty as it promotes social mobility. It is therefore imperative that Zambians have access and equity to it. The budget for 2018 fiscal year allocated K 11,561,643,204 to Education which is only 16.1% of the total budget. There are two dimensions by which an economy can measure whether the education system is indeed serving an end. One is through average access to education by school-age children over time and across the country. The other is through distribution of educational opportunities across different socioeconomic and income groups. Research suggests that less- well households benefit more from education as reflected in the shift of welfare curve. However, government has allocated 5% of education fund to student loans and scholarships. Commendable efforts by the government include support from the World Bank targeting to provide educational support to 16,000 girls from extremely poor households in 16 districts. One of the four pillars the budget is premised on is “Enhancing Human Development” and this includes development in health and education skills development. Similarly, health was allocated a measly 9.5 % of the budget ( K 6,781,558,820)of which goes  drugs and medical supplies, health infrastructure and medical equipment. For Education and Health to meet its intended goal of social mobility, it is vital for it to be accessed to the lower end of the income distribution.

Marco-financial stability is cardinal for inclusive growth. Lower inflation goes hand-in-hand with more inclusive growth and better poverty reduction outcomes. Zambia has managed to curb inflation down to an average of 6.8% in 2017 from higher teens in 2016. The poorer population are usually more affected by inflation as their purchasing power is completely diminished, thereby widening the poverty gap.  Credit to private sector has been repressed by high interest rates in Zambia and if it should make a meaningful impact credit should be permeated to much needed entrepreneurs in the various sectors. Efforts by the government include Agricultural and Industrial Credit Guarantee Scheme to facilitate credit to small and medium enterprises. Under the Woman’s Development Program; government intends to empower about 30, 000 women with productive grants and micro credit countrywide in 2018. With financial inclusion and deepening of the financial sector, the government continues to make strides with policies to promote a well-developed, competitive and an inclusive financial system with the intention of efficient resource mobilization and access of financial services to relatively poorer households.

Inclusive growth is a social welfare opportunity function and dictates the pace and distribution of economic growth. For Zambia to truly not “leave anyone behind” it needs to boost social expenditure and ensure equal access. Therefore, inclusive growth should foster with it, a bigger middle class and an efficient re-allocation of resources. Ultimately, inclusive growth should reflect changes in the size and distribution of wealth in the country. Robust inclusive economic growth is imperative for strong government revenue growth which will drastically reduce the need for government borrowing whilst ensuring adequate fiscal space for developmental spending and social sector spending.

Yours in mentoring,

Muma N’gambi

Economist/Investment Analyst

 

 

Mentorship: active or passive?

*To start off, we thought it would be a good idea for you to get a better sense of what mentoring is and how it will help you. Below is a little something from one of our international correspondents based in Namibia.*

Mentorship.

Often we hear this word and use it. It is mostly related to the need for people deemed more successful to help others – perhaps younger and not as experienced and guide them to reach similar or greater strength and success.  I haven not given much thought to this word until lately.. A lot of the recent happenings in my life have caused me to take stock and look back at a few defining moments without which I would not be where I am today.  I honestly could not go down this journey without distinctly noting the value of a number of people who today I understand where my mentors.  Whether they mentored me knowing or unknowingly is not the issue, what remains true is that they held my hand and helped me navigate territory I had never walked and most certainly made it easier.  Looking back, I realised that during these defining moments, I did not actively look for a mentor.  I was just a young woman desperate to make change and contribute to my country. It got me thinking about the space a young woman would be in or have to be in to fully appreciate and utilise such a tool, in all its forms.

It got me thinking about the different dynamics at play to this over-used yet powerful tool called mentoring.  I thought about myself 4 years ago – fresh from University after completing my Masters degree. I had a great desire to make change and break into the system but just had no way of doing so. I did not know anyone, especially so being a foreigner in a beautiful Country. I desperately prayed for someone to notice me, to just have a look at what I was capable of and GIVE ME A CHANCE! I knew I had what it took and was bold enough to apply for jobs I had no business applying for. Week in week out nothing came. This ‘rejection’ began eating at my confidence and I started to think maybe there never was anything special about me and I’m just another person on the planet. I still had some fire in me though. One Friday afternoon, while perusing the newspapers, (Note:young people let us learn to invest in buying newspapers daily and read) I came across the what’s happening section. I am sceptical about calling it a section because it hardly is…It is a little about 3x5cm piece that gives a summary of what’s happening in the Country. I read it and came across an upcoming public discussion on infant industry protection.

I immediately got intrigued because I wrote my Masters thesis on the exact same topic.  Long story short I went for the event and could not keep quiet when the audience was asked to contribute.  It was at that time that a notable woman in trade related issues noticed me and was impressed with my contribution. She gave me her card and asked me to contact her in the new year.  When I did, she told me she had no post that would pay me what I deserved but if I was keen to learn she could offer me an internship..paying about K1200.. without hesitation I said Yes! I was desperate to learn and prove myself.  I joined their firm as an intern (Yes, with my degrees and all). You see I never asked for this woman to mentor me but she did. She probably still wonders how.

I became so careful of our professional relationship and grateful for the opportunity she gave me that I thought asking her to mentor me would just be too much.. So I decided to watch her and mentor myself by observing her.  I observed her and learnt all I could about trade from her, some things I think she thought I knew because I’m naturally that way (say yes and go and figure it out type of girl). She groomed and prepared me adequately for my next position even without her knowing. And so when I acknowledged her on a Ted Talk I gave, she was shocked!

I was telling this story for a reason.  Mentoring, if taken in the wrong way can be used as a crutch. It could cause one to get into a pity party and think I’m not making it because I have no one to help or notice me.. True as that may be, there are ways around it which require a mentee to be mature about things.

From my experience and writing this article, I can safely say there should be about two types of mentoring: active and passive mentoring.  Truth is sometimes you just might not get someone to mentor you, remember would be mentors are not born mentors – they are simply people who have done things differently which allowed them to achieve exceptional success and now are willing to share their story and use their experiences and contacts to guide you and help get you noticed.  So added to their daily lives, which they too are still trying to perfect, they have a mentee to think about. Should this be your case, there is hope: passive mentoring. Do some research and find people who have done well and start following their career, if they have written books or articles read them and begin to notice trends.

I remember not so long ago, I had this burning desire to meet Thuli Madonsela: I still do and hope that I will still meet her one day. I just felt I needed to meet her but I knew at present that might not be possible. For some reason during that time, there was a lot of publicity around her (this was probably because of the Nkandla saga and her subsequent end of term as Public Protector). So one day while doing some grocery shopping, I saw her on the cover of Destiny magazine which I love for obvious reasons (I still have the magazine).  I bought it and read about what Ms Madonsela was up to after leaving the PP Office. In the article, she shared some lessons she picked up during her time as PP. She spoke about how her quiet persona has helped her a lot and that there is power in silence. She illustrated it so well that it made sense to me because I was going through a period in my life where I had so much to say but it wasn’t the right time to speak. I had trouble keeping quiet because that’s not who I am but reading that, I decided to try and boy did it change a lot for me.. what am I talking about ? Passive mentoring.

You see another thing passive mentoring allows me to do is prepare. I always think to myself so what if I meet this person tomorrow? What am I going to say that will make me stand out. I literally have conversatiosn with these people in my head and should I find the conversation dragging because I lack content, I start preparing and working on it to allow me have decent conversation with this would be mentor should I ever meet them! And if I never do, well Id have improved myself in something either way.

Passive mentoring also works because I feel sometimes we expect mentors to be perfect but they are not. They too have made and will make mistakes.  The trouble with active mentoring or something to think about is that active mentoring allows you to see the person flaws and all. The closer you get and the more you interact, the more you relate on a personal level.  If one is not mature enough to see a flaw and still conduct oneself properly, it can totally destroy one and throw them off because of the lack of maturity and ability to separate issues.

Am I saying active mentoring is bad? Not at all.. Some people need someone in their face to push them. Is it the end of world if you don’t get one? Not even remotely true.  You can be mentored from afar even without having to ask and can pick as many mentors as you like, in their absentia.

So next time you think all is lost because no one will notice you, think again. You have the ability to make things take a different course for you.. trust me, I know! You never know, you still might just get the chance to still meet your dream mentor, if you take the steps! I know I will.

Yours in mentoring,

Stacey Pinto

Lecturer/Published author/Entrepreneur/Lawyer

Opening remarks

Before the semester officially starts, we’ll be posting a few articles in between. This is not only a means of showing (bragging about!) how diverse we are in terms of research and thinking capability, but also to introduce to you some friends of the programme. If you like an article, please feel free to get in touch and we will try to connect you.