FIRST YEAR LAW STUDENTS TAKE PLEDGE
The Faculty of Law at UKZN introduced a pledge swearing ceremony for its first year law students for the first time this year. Two hundred and fifty students pledged to “conduct themselves with decorum; respect fellow students and staff; and act with integrity” at a ceremony at the Howard College Theatre on February 8.
In a solemn ceremony led by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, students recited and signed the pledge signaling their commitment to their chosen career before receiving copies of the South African Constitution. The symbolic event was attended by students; representatives of the Department of Justice; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi; and Faculty of Law staff members.
Commenting on the significance of the ceremony Professor Reddi said: “The pledge is an indication to students that they can be the catalyst for change not just in their own lives but in the lives of all South Africans. It is also symbolic of the privilege it is to study at an institution such as ours and that this privilege is largely possible through the beneficences of the people of South Africa.”
Inspiring addresses by keynote speaker Professor Karthy Govender, the Unit Head for Public Law; and the Unit Head for Business Law, Professor Tanya Woker also marked the event.
Professor Govender said he wanted students to learn, think and grow while studying at the Faculty of Law. He asked students to take a few moments to take in their surroundings. “Look at the building (Howard College) in all its magnificence which will be your `temple’ for the next four years. Very successful people who have made a tangible contribution to law have walked through these corridors … My plea to you is quite simple, be extraordinary. Society needs people who are extraordinary. You will be successful if you think critically and write concisely,” said Professor Govender.
In her message to students, Professor Woker reminded students that help was at hand as they began the tough journey ahead.
“Today marks the start of a very important journey in your lives. You’re adults with no teacher who will write in your homework book … We know from experience students struggle to come to terms with the university environment. But it will be up to you to make it work. Every first year student will be allocated a mentor to help you ease into university life,” said Professor Woker.
For student Ms Nomalungelo Ntshangase reciting the oath signified her commitment to be a responsible law student. “It meant following the rules of the Faculty of Law and presented a guideline of responsibilities that we have as law students.” Ms Nomalungelo who aspires to be successful labour lawyer one day said she looked forward to her first lecture and was anxious about adapting to the University environment.
Ms Samira Adams who chose to study law due to the varying work opportunities the field offers said recitation of the pledge “makes you realise you are an adult, no longer at school and prepares you for the hard work ahead”. Ms Adams who wanted to follow a career in law from a young age said she was eager to settle into her studies and did not mind a little competition from fellow students.