Change the world


NMMU LLB graduate, now a Malmesbury-based Legal Aid lawyer has received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a recipient of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship.


Ilza Le Minnie, who works at the Malmesbury Justice Centre, will take up the fellowship at Texas Tech University in the United States, where she will do a public management course.

“It’s an honour being chose as a Mandela Washington Fellow. The application process was quite strenuous, but after seeing the success of previous Mandela Washington alumni, I knew I had to apply.”

“It still feels quite fairy-tale like that a simple girl like me from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape could leave family and friends behind to journey to the Western Cape to find work and make a success of my career as an attorney.”

This year there were over 64 000 applicants from all over Africa and around 3 700 from South Africa. Le Minnie will be completing the rigorous academic program from June 16 to July 31.

She said that her area of interest was criminal law as her mother was a prison warden and as a result, Le Minnie and her sister spent time at the prison.

“I never understood why prisoners did not have anyone to speak for them and stand up for their rights.

“In most cases, matters were more of a social nature than a criminal one.”

She added that being chosen as a Fellow “just opens up many more doors” for her to learn and to improve her work in the community.

Le Minnie said that she would like to learn from American society as to how their judicial system worked.

“I would like to learn from the American society how they implement their legislation to assist the poor and vulnerable.”

Le Minnie said she hoped her story could inspire youngsters to apply for the fellowship.

“I would like to raise awareness of the program and urge all readers to apply for the next cohort.” 

Le Minnie graduated from NMMU with an LLB degree in 2013 completed her articles with Legal Aid in Stellenbosch from 2012 – 2014 and once finishing articles was admitted as an attorney appointed in Malmesbury.