Introduction of Guest Speaker, Adv. Louisa Zondo

Speech by Andiswa Msomi

Good morning to our esteemed guests, members of the Board of Governors, members of The Power of Ten and the staff and members of the Seminary.

It is my singular privilege to introduce our guest speaker, Mah Louisa Zondo, a member of the class of 1980.

She was born in Durban and spent her formative years in KwaMashu. She attended Ekusizaneni Higher Primary School before joining the Seminary.

Mah Zondo is deeply passionate about meaningful transformation in the lives of people, with a very particular focus on women and children. She views love, education, the healing of hurts and respect for human rights as critically important catalysts for that transformation.  In July this year, she participated in the Trek4Mandela Challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in support of the Caring4Girls initiative to keep the girl child at school.

An Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, she holds a BProc degree from the University of Limpopo, a LLB degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a Master of Laws degree specialising in public law and political science from the prestigious London School of Economics.

Her deep commitment to improving people’s lives is shown in the many leadership roles she has played, including the following:

  • the CEO of the Bertha Gxowa Foundation,
  • a non-Executive Director of Oxfam, South Africa,
  • a non-Executive Director of the Fountain of Healing
  • the Head of Secretariat of the National Education Crisis Forum,
  • the CEO of the office of the Public Protector,
  • The General Manager - Legal and Compliance Services at Sasol,
  • general counsel at South African Airways,
  • the CEO of the National Nuclear Regulator,
  • the Secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation in Vienna, Austria,
  • The Deputy Executive Director in the Constitutional Assembly’s Secretariat, and as
  • the founding CEO of the South African Human Rights Commission

How does one acquire such impressive credentials? Well, for Mah Zondo it began here at the Seminary.  Here are some of her teachers’ comments in her reports in her 1977 and 1978 years:

  • possesses a “very good general spirit”
  • a hard worker
  • a pleasant, helpful and responsive pupil
  • always shows interest in her work

In applying to be enrolled at the school in 1975, this is what she wrote as her motivation: “I want to continue my education so that I can become a lawyer and defend my people.”  And here she is years later ...a lawyer, an advocate.  Her life is a dream fulfilled. Mah Zondo’s life is validation that a single-minded commitment to one’s goals is the route to success.  And this, members, is an invaluable lesson for us.

In addition to playing multiple roles within the school community, her most memorable experiences at the school centre around her involvement in the school’s PT Group to which she belonged in the five years as a student of the Inanda Seminary.  

Ladies and gentleman and members, may you help me in welcoming one of our very own, the remarkable Advocate Louisa Zondo.  Welcome home, Mah.

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