Visionary paths unfold at annual Law Faculty Opening

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Max Boqwana
Pic credit: Luyanda Dube
Max Boqwana Pic credit: Luyanda Dube

By Ephreeda Banda

On 22 February 2024, Rhodes University's Law Faculty officially began its academic year with a its annual Faculty Opening evening. The event welcomed students, faculty members, and a notable guest, marking the occasion as a significant moment in the faculty’s annual calendar.

The ceremony featured a keynote speech by Max Boqwana, a legal practitioner renowned for his work in constitutional law and human rights advocacy. Boqwana addressed the critical role of law in tackling current societal issues, offering thoughtful commentary on the historical and ongoing challenges of oppression. He urged the new generation to engage in deep reflection and to reimagine the societal and national landscape, stating, "Many today do not realise that we have been privileged to witness one of the greatest human endeavours, to finally bury the justification of oppression of one another that our continent has endured for more than 400 years. Today, it may look bleak in our country. Our nation might be looking directionless, many of us might be feeling despondent, and our leadership might be looking rudderless. But for young people like yourselves, it must surely be the time for that deep reflection, that re-imagination of our whole society and our whole country."

In addition to the keynote, the ceremony highlighted the academic achievements of the faculty’s top students. This segment served as an acknowledgement of their hard work and dedication to legal studies.

"It is an extraordinary event because this is when we award the deserving academic prizes to students, most of which are sponsored prizes, and this event also provides a great opportunity for networking and regrouping," said the Law Society vice-president, Bongani Mpande.


Among those recognised were:

Dean's List Honourees:

  • Peter Classen
  • Emihle Madalambana
  • Anopa Murambiwa
  • Makabongwe Ndwandwe
  • Meldret Nkuna, who was also awarded the Shirley Ritchie Prize


Award Recipients:

  • Retshidisitswe Lesoro received the Faculty Prize for Legal Theory 2, along with recognitions from Adams & Adams and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
  • Oyama Mzayidume was awarded for his achievements in Corporate Law, Company Law, and as the best speaker in the penultimate LLB moot, among other accolades.


The awards ceremony underscored the importance of academic excellence within the faculty. The opening ceremony also provided an opportunity for the faculty and students to reaffirm their dedication to legal education, intellectual inquiry, and justice. It set a tone for the year, emphasising collaboration, academic rigour, and the importance of networking within the legal profession.

Professor Laurence Juma, the Dean of the Law Faculty, spoke about the future, highlighting plans for infrastructure improvements to accommodate a growing student body. He noted the significant increase in first-year admissions, stating, "We have admitted 69 first-years this year, almost double the amount we normally have," reflecting the faculty’s commitment to expanding access to legal education.

The formal opening ceremony of Rhodes University's Law Faculty was a testament to the institution's dedication to fostering an environment of excellence, scholarly engagement, and professional development. As the faculty embarks on the new academic year, it does so with a clear focus on its mission to educate and prepare the next generation of legal professionals.