At just 27 years old, UKZN alumnus, Musa Kika is about to graduate with a PhD in Public law. His passion is human rights and access to justice.
Kika was awarded a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) summa cum laude by UKZN, followed by a Masters’ degree at the prestigious Harvard law School and a rights from the University of Pretoria’s Centre
Certificate in Advanced Human for Human rights. “Through seeing some of the greats to come out of the Law School at UKZN, I realised that I could be anything as well,” he said. In April 2018, he will receive his PhD from the University of Cape Town.
He now works as a Human rights and Constitutional lawyer with the Zimbabwe lawyers for Human rights (ZLHR) in his birthplace, Harare. It was this organisation that first sparked his interest in law when he participated in their activities while in high school.
“The ZLHR is a premier human rights organisation that has been at the forefront of fostering a democratic culture and a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe for over 20 years … my work will primarily focus on litigation in cases involving access to justice, enforcement of constitutional rights, especially civil and political, and protection of human rights defenders,” said Kika.
Also an independent consultant in human rights, constitutional and administrative law, rule and law and governance, he worked with Justice oagile Dingake of the Botswana High Court and the residual Supreme Court of Sierra Leone as a consultant researcher and as an assistant researcher with the Democratic governance and rights Unit in Cape Town.
Kika started his career at the non-governmental organisation, Justice for Children in Harare, served as law clerk to Justice Malcolm Wallis of the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa and has served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice and Judges of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Namibia in Windhoek, including to former South African Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’regan, who acts on that bench.
The youngest of four children of a Malawian father and Mozambican mother, Kika is the first in his family to go to university. “That alone motivates me to break boundaries. I had a full and very happy childhood but I was not born into privilege and opportunity… I keep going and renewing my aspirations as I reach each mountain peak. I want to make my mother proud. She toiled to keep me going when my father died in 2001… [others] have supported me along the way.” He added that he was fortunate to have had many role models to look up to.
At UKZN, senior students Siboniso Cibane, Ntokozo Qwabe, Qhekile Nyathi, Aslam Moola, lukhona Mnguni, Tafadzwa Chiposi and Prathik Mohanlaal gave him “energy, strength and so much hope.”
Interestingly, almost all of these students ended up at oxford, Harvard, Cambridge and Edinburgh. I was fortunate to have looked up to the right people. Then the people who have made it in the law, including Justice wallis whom I subsequently worked for, gave me tips and insights that helped me navigate the path, and the aspiration to get where they reached kept and keeps me going,” said Kika.
Constantly reaching for the next goal, he received more than 25 academic accolades during his studies.
“Though I do not have technical competence in power systems, I am very passionate about the area, and I hold the firm belief that you don’t need expertise in an area to start a venture in that field. I think solar energy is the future of power.”
“I received … the Kaufman Fellowship at Harvard law School, which recognises exceptional potential in a public service career. I chose to use that award to do a year of constitutional and human rights litigation with the ZLHR instead of using it in the United States or anywhere else in the world.”
Kika credits UKZN for starting him on his path in life. The only thing he would have done differently is to incorporate entrepreneurship and business management into his studies.
“I really want to learn more about those fields and I am slowly moving towards setting up a start-up in energy generation. Though I do not have technical competence in power systems, I am very passionate about the area, and I hold the firm belief that you don’t need expertise in an area to start a venture in that field. I think solar energy is the future of power.”
While he describes himself as a social introvert, Kika loves the performing arts and travel. “Travelling is a form of education. I also love music – a lot! I collect and play music, especially from African countries, and I like watching performing arts.”
– Bheki Mbanjwa