This year, we are excited to announce the Courtroom Mail 100 SHID.

We are very grateful to all the members of Courtroom Mail 100 selection panel 2024 and the sacrifices they made in coming out with this list. We are also very proud of all our listed colleagues and the work they are doing.

We are also very glad that Maria Mbeneka (Kenya) accepted to Chair the panel. Her involvement brought an unquantifiable value to the process. Maria Mbeneka ,a former Vice President of the East African Law Society is a name Partner of Mbeneka Advocates LLP -a member of the Africa Law Practice (ALP) Network and has been in private practice for 20 years.

Elected council member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) in 2019-2021; 2021 to date representing Kenya, as well as the Elected Commonwealth Lawyers Association Treasurer from March 2023.

She is a former council member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) where she served as the treasurer & General Member Representative for the period of 2018-2020.

Maria has previously served as a member of the Industrial Property Tribunal (Kenya) from 2010-2013 and the Co-operative Tribunal from 2019 to 2022.

Like I say every year, “In selecting 100 remarkable female lawyers across all ages from sub-Sahara Africa doing great things in Africa and abroad, we are not in any way under any illusion that we can successfully narrow down our exceptional female colleagues to just a hundred people.”

This year, the panel is made up of only female Lawyers of sub-Sahara Africa descent who nominated SHID female lawyers doing well in their region- East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa. The list may not be up to 100 this year but we are proud that we are able to project our female colleagues and inspire our younger colleagues to shatter glass ceilings.

More importantly, in line with this year’s theme, we see this as our own way of investing in our female colleagues to accelerate progress.

The list is in no particular order.

Thank You

Anthony Atata-

Founding Editor, Courtroom Mail

  1. Her Majesty Queen Nozizwe Ka Mulela-Zulu– The Kingdom of Eswatini

Her Majesty Queen Nozizwe Ka Mulela-Zulu is the  Managing Director of Bank of Eswatini (Swaziland). The first woman to occupy the position since its establishment in 1965.She started her banking career as a Company Secretary and Legal adviser at Standard Bank, Eswatini.

 She obtained her Bachelors in Law from Rhodes University and Masters of Laws from University of Stellenbosch before proceeding to the University of Stellenbosch Business School for an MBA.

She has been involved in causes promoting the education and empowerment of the girl child.

“When we break barriers and rise to new heights, it’s not just about personal success- It’s about creating a pathway for all the incredible women who will follow”

She is a Patron to Faweswa which was founded by her mother with the aim of supporting girls to access education.

She is the second wife of  King Misuzulu Sinqobile ka Zwelithini-Zulu

2. Hon. (Rtd.) Justice Immaculée Nyirinkwaya– Rwanda

Justice Immaculée Nyirinkwaya studied law at the Université de Droit, d’Economie et de Sciences Sociales de Paris II-Assas in France. In 1981 she obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB honors), in 1982 a Master of Private Law, specializing in business law (maitrise en droit privé, option droit des affaires), and in 1985 a specialized post-graduate diploma in insurance law (diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées en droit des assurances).

From 1985 to 1994, she worked in the insurance law domain, successively for the company Organisation Nouvelle d’Assurances, the Air France Works Council and Société Nationale d’Assurances Zurich-France.

In 1994, she returned to Rwanda, which was then in the midst of reconstruction after the war and the Genocide Against the Tutsi. After working for the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Social Integration and the Société Nationale d’Assurances du Rwanda, she joined the judiciary on April 4, 1996, upon her appointment as a Supreme Court Judge.

On March 20, 1997, Justice Immaculée Nyirinkwaya was transferred to the Central Administration as Director of the National Center for Judicial Training, with the task of setting up the Center and developing the training of judicial personnel. At that time, although the statutes governing judicial personnel, adopted in 1962, stipulated that magistrates had to be law graduates or equivalent, the Rwandan judiciary still comprised only a handful of law graduates. The Genocide Against the Tutsi in 1994 further destroyed a judicial system that had already been largely neglected and marginalized since the country’s independence. In this role, she initiated, planned, organized, and supervised a large number of training programs for new magistrates and judicial officers. She thus played a central role in building the capacity of judicial personnel.

In April 2002, after 5 years of service at the National Center for Judicial Training, she was reinstated as a Supreme Court judge. She held this position until July 2023, the date of her retirement for age. In September of the same year, she was awarded the title of Honorary Justice of the Supreme Court.

During 27 years in the service of justice, she played a central role in building the capacity of judicial staff. The many young people she mentored are now accomplished jurists practicing in all spheres of society. As a judge, she is recognized for her knowledge of the law, her rigorous approach, her professionalism, and her impartiality. Moreover, through her judgments, she has made a major contribution to the establishment of jurisprudential standards, and to the greater protection of the rights of girls and women, in both the criminal and civil fields.

Now retired, she intends to continue devoting her skills to serving the community through mediation, arbitration and coaching young jurists.

3. Faith Mony Odhiambo– Kenya (President Law Society of Kenya)

Elected as the 51st President of the Law Society of Kenya and the second woman to serve in that position, Faith Mony Odhiambo is a trailblazer for women lawyers in the legal profession in Kenya. She has also served as a Vice President of the Law Society of Kenya She is a former Board Secretary of the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya. She serves as a lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Nairobi and teaches Law of Business Associations, Banking Law, Competition Law and Consumer Protection Law. She is also a Partner at Ombok and Owuor LLP Advocates, based in Nairobi. Faith has experience in litigation, corporate and commercial law, telecommunications law and competition law.

She has also developed expertise in Banking Law, Financial services, Mediation and Arbitration. She was previously working with the Competition Authority of Kenya advising on the interpretation of the legal provisions in regarding violations under restrictive trade practices, merger transactions and consumer protection complaints, advising on merger applications, cases on restrictive trade practices. Faith was part of a team researching competition bottlenecks in mobile financial services in Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has also been involved in a Retail Market Study of Kenya in 2017, Advisory Projects for Competition in the Mobile financial services in Tanzania, Advisory projects on Spectrum Management in Kenya. Advisory on the National Roaming, Telecommunications Tower Sharing and Termination Rates Network Cost Study 2022-together with Acacia Economics and Tilill Technologies for Communications Authority which involved review the laws and regulations, advisory on competition concerns.

Faith holds an LLB (Hons) from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, a Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law and an LLM (Hons) in International Commercial Law with European Law from University of Kent (UK). She is also a Certified Public Secretary, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators-UK (MCIarb). She is a PhD student at the University of Nairobi.

Her research interests include Competition Law, Consumer Protection Law, Telecommunications Law, Banking Law, Financial Services, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Women and Children’s rights, Climate Change, Human rights, Intellectual property rights, Economic law.

4. Cathrine Chitiyo– Zimbabwe

Cathrine Chitiyo graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a BL (Hons) and an LL.B in 1985; and was a public prosecutor before commencing private practice on her own in 1991. She specialised in conveyancing, corporate and commercial practice.  This skillset led to a merger, becoming Wickwar & Chitiyo in 2000, which in turn led to another merger with Atherstone & Cook in 2009, where Cathrine is the Conveyancing Partner, and still maintains her other specialties.

Cathrine has a passion for women’s empowerment, and has mentored young women lawyers both formally and informally.

5. Pepsi Samukelo Thuto – Botswana

Patient Samukelo Chibanda Thuto is a founding Partner of Chibanda Makgalemele & Company. The firm was established on 1st September 1994 and is based in Gaborone. She has over 29 years’ experience in private practise in Zimbabwe and Botswana having been first admitted to practise in January 1988 in the High Court of Zimbabwe. 

Her experience in legal practice is exclusively in the realm of civil law with a particular emphasis on corporate law (preparing commercial agreements, security documents, reviewing of commercial agreements in cross border/international transactions, setting up of commercial vehicles, shareholders agreements, resolution of shareholders disputes, advises on tax implications in local and international service agreements, banking, divestitures); insurance and motor vehicle accident law, construction industry arbitrations and very recently in privatisation and public private partnerships. 

Since 1998 she has been and remains involved in numerous shareholder disputes many of which have ended up in the courts and others of which she has been instrumental in resolving amicably with a resultant increase in shareholder value and benefit.  The most notable of these are shareholder disputes in the information and communication sector companies.

She is in addition very conversant with the Botswana Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, having been involved in various litigation matters revolving around the processes and procedures of the Procuring entity, the interpretation and application of the Act and the principles surrounding implementation of the Act.   One of these matters has been argued at the Court of Appeal level.

She is also one of the lead attorneys in various business and financial transactions handled by the firm involving acquisitions, mergers, debenture agreements and cross border registration of securities.

She has acted and continues to act as an arbitrator for various disputes arising mainly from contract disputes in the constructions and commercial fields.

She is very conversant with liquidations and insolvencies and has been involved in a large number of liquidations over the years acting as Counsel to the liquidators in some instances and as Counsel to major creditors in other instances.

She has served as Master of The High Court of Botswana. 

6. Sugandhini Rajaruthnam– South Africa

Rajaruthnam and Associates was founded in 2003 by Sugandhini Rajaruthnam, a dedicated and humble member of the legal profession practicing as a sole practitioner in litigation, family law, trust and estate administration, maritime law, property and contracts. The main office is located in central Durban district with a separate branch office located in La Lucia Ridge.

On 12th April 1995 at University of Natal she obtained an undergraduate qualification and post graduate Honours qualification was completed in Bachelor of Law (LLB) in 1997.

Rajaruthnam was admitted on the 15th June of 1998 as an Attorney at High Court of Pietermaritzburg and a conveyancer at the High Court of Pietermaritzburg on the 24th of October 2008

She has an LLM from the University of KwaZulu Natal.

On 22nd July 2009 Sugandhini Rajaruthnam was inducted as a Small Claims Commissioner for Durban Magistrates Court and currently still remains in active pro bono service as a Small Claims Commissioner.

On 15th April 2023 the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development awarded Ms Rajaruthnam with a long-term service award for over ten years of service for outstanding dedicated service and unwavering commitment in advancing the constitutional mandate of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development by improving access to justice through the Small Claims Courts.

Ms Sugandhini Rajaruthnam is an assessor for the Kwazulu Natal High Court and has assessed on criminal matters in Durban and Pietermaritzburg High Courts and has also travelled as an assessor on the circuit High Court held at Vryheid, Mandeni and Mtunzini within

Kwazulu Natal. Ms Rajaruthnam has a Right of Appearance in High Court and has attended to urgent applications and civil litigation matters held in High Court.

Ms Rajaruthnam is the current chairperson for the South African Women’s Lawyers Association (SAWLA) KZN and has been a member of SAWLA from inception of the organisation. In 2014 till 2016 she held the position as the National Deputy President of South African Women’s Lawyers Association (SAWLA). She has actively served on the executive level in the provincial body of SAWLA KZN for well over 10 years holding different portfolios within the executive chapter in KwaZulu Natal.  She was a representative of SAWLA KZN in 2013 at the Public Protectors conference on Good Governance and contributed to a draft paper on good governance. SAWLA KZN had assisted with part of the refurbishment and the opening of the Point Children’s Court with Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and still currently assists in community-based projects.

In November 2014, at the 35th Biennial Convention held at Bangalore India, Ms Rajaruthnam life member to the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS (FIDA).SAWLA is now affiliated to FIDA and shares in this international experience exposing all the members in South Africa to a global perspective of the legal fraternity.

Ms Rajaruthnam through SAWLA hosts and assists at Legal clinics held by various NGO’s that requested for legal assistance, community-based outreach programmes, and providing for the less fortunate.

She is an active member of the Management Committee for the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD) in which she serves for over five years. She assists the association on management concerns and issues of legal nature.

She provides legal assistance to the Chatsworth Vernacular School Institute and on 13th October 2019 was awarded by the Institute for dedicated selfless service to the community in the provision of vital services.

She is an accredited Election Observer by the Independent Electoral Commission and was positioned in Melmoth / Ulundi for the 2014 and 2011 municipal Elections. Her experience with the Independent Electoral

Commission started when she was a student and participated actively as a counting officer in South Africa first elections.

Ms Rajaruthnam has Lectured for the Department of Applied Law at Durban University of Technology (DUT) for over eight (8) years and is currently appointed as a moderator for the subjects that she previously lectured in the Administration of Deceased’s Estates and International Trade Law.

On August 2004, she had successfully completed the certificate of Deceased Estates Practice with the College of Law of the University of South Africa and the Law Society of South Africa.

In 2010 she had successful completed the Judicial Skills Training Programme with LEAD for both Civil and Criminal Judicial Skills Training Programme which was successfully completed.

In 2018 to December 2023 Ms Rajaruthnam was appointed as a part time adjudicator for the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) for KZN. She enjoyed the opportunity to assess disputes, investigate the dispute and to finalise an adjudication order in accordance with CSOS Act and other pertinent legislation that was to be considered during adjudication. 

Ms Sugandhini Rajaruthnam’s articles as a candidate attorney was completed at the CAMPUS LAW CLINIC, University of Natal. She attended and assisted with the Truth and Reconciliation Hearing held in KwaZulu Natal, assisted in preparations with senior counsel on drafting of affidavits of witnesses under the witness protection programme.

She assisted in the representation of clients at the Commission of Land Affairs for land claims. Represented the Law Clinic with regards to the restructuring of the Family Law Courts at Durban Magistrates Court.    

7. Justice Isabelle Kalihangabo-Rwanda

Justice Isabelle Kalihangabo is a distinguished Rwandan legal professional with a remarkable career in both the judiciary and law enforcement. Currently serving as a Judge at the Supreme Court of Rwanda since October 2023, she previously held the position of Deputy Secretary General at the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) from 2018.

A graduate in law from the University of Rwanda, Justice Isabelle furthered her studies with a master’s degree in international business law from Queen Mary University of London. Her illustrious career includes significant roles such as serving in the Supreme Court of Rwanda’s Department of Gacaca Jurisdictions between 2000 and 2004 and later as a Judge in the High Court of Rwanda until 2007.

In 2007, she assumed the role of Assistant Attorney General in the Ministry of Justice, overseeing legal advisory services. Her dedication and expertise led to a promotion in March 2014 when she became the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General in the Ministry of Justice. She was appointed in April 2018 as the Deputy Secretary General of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau. This role marked her service until October 2023 when she was appointed as a Judge at the Supreme Court of Rwanda.

Justice Isabelle’s illustrious career is a testament to her unwavering dedication to the pursuit of justice and legal excellence and as a Judge at the Supreme Court, she continues to shape and elevate the justice system of Rwanda with her exceptional skills and commitment to the principles of justice.

8. Jakkie Wessels– South Africa

Jakkie Wessels is the Regional Court President, Limpopo Regional Division, October 2009 to date and a regional magistrate since 2003.

She started her career as prosecutor in December 1983 and then was an additional magistrate (1988 – 1989). After studying further, she worked at UNISA at the department of jurisprudence at which time she became involved in training and the development of courses, also for the Law Society’s practical legal education and continued education, including developing the Judicial Skills for Aspiring Judicial Officers Courses, PEPUDA, PAIA and PAJA. She was a lecturer at Justice College before she joined the regional court bench. She had been a regular guest lecturer at the University of Pretoria as well as other training institutions, and regularly gets invited to present at conferences, workshops, and webinars.  

Currently Board member: Rules Board, 2012 –present

SA Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) Council member for 2 terms (10 years) and is now again a SAJEI Council member as from 2022

She is also a board member of the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) at UCT

She had been doing training and developing courses for district and regional magistrates as well as other legal professionals for around 25 years

She had been involved with various UNODC projects and publications mainly on GBV, including the UNODC handbook for the judiciary on GBV and the UNODC (ROSAD) Cyberviolence against WAG handbook. She had been involved in various SADC training initiatives including the DNA project for police, prosecutors, and judicial officers, as well as Cyberviolence and GBVF.  

She has published various articles in SA law journals as well as international accredited publications and was also co-editor of a book on the Promotion of Access to Information Act (The Right to Know).

She had initiated 100 Days Challenges at the Limpopo court together with the relevant stakeholders as part of an innovative backlog project in 2020 for divorce, whereafter the 100 Days projects had increased – in 2023 100 Days Challenges were done at 19 courts involving 72 teams for maintenance, domestic violence, sexual offences, and divorces. All district and regional courts at 50 courts in Limpopo will start 100 Days Challenges as from 1 May 2024 again.

9. Fungayi Jessie Majome– Zimbabwe

Fungayi Jessie Majome is a Zimbabwean constitutional lawyer and feminist who is passionate about constitutionalism and optimistic about Africa. She was born on 20 December 1971. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree, Post Graduate Diploma in Womenʼs Law, and a Masters in Womenʼs Law degree from the University of Zimbabwe, plus a Master of Laws degree from the University of South Africa. She is studying for a Doctor of Laws degree with the University of Pretoria. She has experience of elected political office of local government councillor and Chair of Hwange Local Board, Member of the National Assembly for Harare West 2008 to 2013, during which, as part of Zimbabweʼs short lived coalition government she was variously a Deputy Minister for Justice & Legal Affairs, then Women Affairs, Gender & Community Development, and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Notably she served not only as a a member of the 25 member Select Committee of Parliament that authored the long awaited 2013 constitution, but also as its Deputy Co-Chairperson, Spokesperson and Chair of its Information and Publicity Committee. She was the first woman lawyer to be directly elected to Zimbabweʼs Parliament, and won several awards in human rights and womenʼs rights through her political work. She retired from politics in 2018. She runs a law practice she founded in 2004 styled Jessie Majome & Co. Legal Practitioners, and also serves as a commissioner on Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission. She is mother to two sons.

10. Umurungi Providence– Rwanda

Chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights

Umurungi Providence, is a highly experienced legal and human rights professional with a remarkable 25-year trajectory. Holding a master’s degree in international law from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), she currently serves as the chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights, showcasing her dedication to advancing human rights causes at a national level.

Providence ‘s expertise is demonstrated through her prior roles, including excelling as the Head of International Justice and Judicial Cooperation Department/ the Principal State Attorney at the Ministry of Justice from November 2016 to October 2023. Her commitment to justice is further evidenced by her role, under the Ministry of Justice, as the Project Coordinator of the One UN Program on Access to Justice, Human Rights, and Peace Consolidation from January 2014 to October 2016.

With international experience, Providence served in diplomatic service as the Administrative Assistant to the Rwanda High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, from January 2010 to December 2013. Additionally, she played a pivotal role as the Coordination Officer for the National Task Force on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Completion Program from January 2008 to September 2008.

Providence’s journey includes an impactful stint as an Associate Legal Officer at ICTR, Office of the Registrar, Legal Service, and Internship Program Unit, from December 2006 to November 2007. Before that, she contributed to legal education as an Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the former National University of Rwanda, concurrently coordinating a Master’s Program in Business Law from June 2005 to November 2006. During her time at the university, Providence shared her expertise by teaching courses on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

Providence’s leadership and commitment to breaking down barriers make her a trailblazer in her field, challenging stereotypes, and paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future in legal and human rights advocacy.

11. Denise Menon- South Africa

Denise is a Committed and goal-oriented Advocate with +24 years’ experience and a strong commitment to children’s rights and the general community. Able to handle tense and difficult interpersonal situations with full empathy and professionalism.

Knowledgeable and innovative legal professional with a passion and dedication to justice. Highly organized, and skilled in public speaking. Bringing forth a proven track record of achieving favourable outcomes for clients. Adept at working directly and indirectly with clients and families, paperwork, and crisis intervention. Experienced in maintaining professional relationships and high standards of confidentiality with each client.

Denise Menon sat as an assessor on a number of occasions. She has had the honour of sitting with the Honourable Judge Jan Hugo, the Honourable Judge Sham Gyanda, the Honourable Acting Judge Omar Moosa, and the Honourable Judge Leona Theron who is now at our Constitution court.

She has been an Executive member of NADEL – National Association of Democratic Lawyers, – for approximately 6years / Treasurer for two years and served as an executive member of SAWLA – South African Woman Lawyers Association, holding the position of being their first National Treasurer for a period of approximately 4 years. She is currently on the KZN provincial Executive committee. 

Denise Menon was an executive member of AFT – Advocates for Transformation, Executive Member for a number of years, a Bar Council member of the Society of Advocates of KwaZulu Natal for a period of two years and attended a number of Hague applications, where she was given a delegation from the Central Authority of South Africa. Her role being that of either as a mediator to assist to resolve the situation via mediation in an amicable manner or as a Litigator to institute legal proceedings for the relief sough. Depending on whether it was an incoming or outgoing Hague – for the return of the child/children to the habitual State or for a proper contact arrangement to be put in place.

Menon conducted a number of outreach programs in rural communities, urban communities, professional bodies etc. Addressing issues like access to justice and what facilities her office provides under the cap of her office and provided legal assistance and direction when under the banner of organisations like SAWLA and NADEL.

She was involved in a number of criminal cases including the highly publicised Throb matter for a while.

Denise Menon has extensive court appearances – with approximately 234years of experience as an Advocate.

12. Bongi Zulu -South Africa

Bongi Zulu

Ms. Zulu is an admitted attorney with over 23 years post-admission experience. She further has over 10 years’ experience in Corporate Governance and Leadership, and has played important roles in the public sector, as a non-executive board director, having served on various state-owned entities, both at a provincial and national level in South Africa. She is a specialist in Corporate Governance, Public and Corporate Law. In her leadership roles, Ms Zulu has focused on diversity, inclusion and organizational transformation. She has overseen and ensured gender representation of Executive Committees (EXCO) at many entities where she has served. She has thrived in challenging environments and has been able to restore good governance across many such institutions, which have continuously obtained clean audit outcomes. She is also accredited by CEDR as a commercial mediator and has presided over a number of ADR processes.

Born and bred in Umlazi and understanding the historical socio-economic challenges faced by her community, Ms. Zulu has embarked upon various initiatives to support primary school going children, through her nonprofit entity called SOLACE (Induduzo)- “Serving Humanity”. Through fundraising, she hopes to extend her initiatives to include provision of monthly food parcels to childheaded homes and those primary school children who are raised by their grandmothers on pension.

Due to the devastation caused by latest floods to communities of Umlazi, Ms. Zulu plans to work with the municipality to identify unemployed youth who can be trained to respond to disasters and assist communities affected by storms and other natural disasters, with evacuation and first-aid response. She believes that with the effects of climate change, communities should have trained and capable responders to render support, working with municipal disaster teams, who are often overwhelmed when disasters hit across the province.

Ms. Zulu is also a committed donor to various international organizations who render medical, legal and other support to war and disaster affected countries.

Ms. Zulu is also the founder of the Association for the Advancement of Black Directors (AABDSA), a voluntary organization whose main objective is the transformation of boards, both in the public and private sectors, with particular focus on the Women’s Chapter, which advocates for fair representation and empowerment of black women directors (Africans, Indians and Coloureds) in boards.

Ms. Zulu holds a B.Proc degree and an MBA. She is the founder and director at Zulu Law Incorporated.

13. Trudie Nichols – South Africa

Trudie Nichols is a practicing attorney and current legal consultant with over 24 years experience. She was a partner in the firm Bowman Gilfillan Inc and prior to that had practiced in her own firm for approximately 10 years. Her expertise and experience as a practicing attorney encompasses a mixed litigation and non-contentious practice.

Trudie has advanced skills in the Ports, Transport & Logistics Corridor Sector; Constitutional law; Commercial and Corporate Law, as well as Commercial and Insurance litigation. She has been invited to speak at international conferences on a range on issues applicable to ports, the blue economy, special economic zones, the port hinterland, port efficiencies, the AfCFTA, regional integration and public private partnerships. She has also spoken on issues affecting legal professionals under the auspices of the new Legal Practice Act and presented webinars on directors duties and obligations.

She also has  judicial and quasi-judicial experience, having been called to sit as an Acting Judge of the Gauteng High Court Division, Johannesburg and Pretoria. She was also appointed to the special appeal review tribunal for the KZN Gaming and Betting Board; has conducted sensitive independent legal investigations; chaired disciplinary and appeal against disciplinary finding enquiries; chaired board of inquiries for both the public and private entities regarding occupational health and safety investigations and concomitant statutory reporting; and she has mediation and arbitration experience.

She was appointed by the Minister of Transport as  a council  member to the Integrated Transport Sector Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter Council (ITS B-BBEE CC) in which she also heads up the Legal Task Team. She is an alumni of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) and a member of the International Law Association.

Trudie was  an elected member of the first South African Legal Practice Council (2018 -2021); an Exco member of the first LPC (2018 -2021);  a past chairperson  and current member of the Association of Woman in Insurance; and  a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners SA and she sat on the Advisory Board for the Transport Evolution Mozambique Forum, 2022.

As a founding member and current non-executive director of All Rise, Attorneys for Climate and Environmental Justice, an NPO and law clinic, which specialises, in the promotion of human rights and participatory democracy through the prism of environmental rights and climate justice, she maintains her contribution to socio-economic constitutional litigation by providing constitutional law advice. She is a member of the Friends of CAOSA Advisory Council intended to facilitate the objective of CAOSA in relation to community advice centres and community based paralegals.

14. Phillipa Phillips– Zimbabwe

Phillipa is Phillips Law’s Managing Partner, specializing in Immigration,
Compliance & Corporate Law with 23 years’ experience. Phillipa has a BA
(French & Private Law)(UCT), LLB (UCT) and LLM from Temple University (PA,
USA).
Phillipa sits on the FMC Finance and Transmedia Corporation Board and serves
as trustee on other organizations. She has sat on the ZWLA, IODZ Council,
ZNCC Women’s Desk, PROWEB Ex-Comm, and Allied Timbers Board. In 2021
and 2023 she served as Commissioner on 2 Tribunals.
Phillipa was Zimbabwe’s World Bank country consultant that brought about the
Companies and Other Business Entities Act [Chapter 24:31].

15. Hon. Justice Aisha Ally Sinda- Tanzania

Aisha Ally Sinda is a Judge of the High Court of Tanzania at the Judiciary of Tanzania. She was previously a senior lawyer at Pan-African law  firm in Tanzanian with over 15 years’ experience in the legal and regulatory work in Tanzania. Ms. Sinda was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania in 2011 and the High Court of Zanzibar admitted in 2020. Ms. Sinda is also registered Arbitrator, Negotiator, Mediator and Reconciliator with the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

Aisha has considerable experience as a lawyer in banking and finance, competition, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, labour, mining, oil and gas, technology, media & telecommunication (TMT), regulatory compliance, PPP projects, commercial law areas and commercial litigation and arbitration.

In May 2023,  she was elected the Vice President of  Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), the bar association of Tanzania Mainland, a position that she held until September 2023 when she was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Tanzania by the President of Tanzania. Aisha is also a board Member of Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA).  As a board member at TAWLA, she set up the first ever mentorship program for  TAWLA and created various opportunities for young women lawyers in Tanzania.  She also set up the TAWLA Awards to recognize the outstanding women lawyers, mentors and law firms who have not only achieved excellence in legal profession but have promoted gender equality and economic empowerment for women in the law.

Aisha is passionate about advancing opportunities for women in law in Tanzania. She is also devoted in advancing the rule of law and promoting the effective delivery of justice in Tanzania.  

16. Honourable Loyce Matanda-Moyo – Zimbabwe-

Honourable Loyce Matanda-Moyo is the Prosecutor-General (Zimbabwe), who was recently appointed as the first female Prosecutor-General in Zimbabwe. She is an accomplished woman with a distinguished career and vast experience in the justice delivery system having served as a Magistrate, State Advisor in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, State Counsel (Criminal Division) of the Attorney-General’s Office prosecuting in the High Court and Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. She rose through the ranks to the post of Director of Civil Division and Director of Public Prosecutions before being appointed Judge of the Labour Court of Zimbabwe (2009) and Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe (2013). She also served as the Chairperson of the Land Acquisition Task Force and represented Zimbabwe in international cases on Human rights before being appointed Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in May 2019, a post she held until her recent appointment into office as the Prosecutor-General.

17. Vimbai Nyemba– Zimbabwe

Vimbai Nyemba is a Senior Lawyer in Zimbabwe, who was recently appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice. Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. She graduated with an LLB (Hons) Degree in 1992 and had been in private practice since then until her recent appointment into Office as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. In 1997 she opened doors to her practice styled V. Nyemba and Associates. She was elected into Council of the Law Society of Zimbabwe in 2009 and in 2013 to 2014 she was elected Vice President which saw her into being elected to position of President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, a position she held from 2015 to 2016.

She is the current Vice President of SADC Lawyers Association. She is a Councillor of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and a Vice President of African Bar Association (AFBA) Southern Africa. She sits on various boards and chairs the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches Advisory Board. She is the Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe (CPCA), Harare Diocese.

She was appointed Commissioner in the Post-Election Violence Inquiry of Zimbabwe 2018 which is popularly known as the Motlanthe Commission. She has won a number of awards including the following;

· Businesswoman of the year Platinum Winner 2021 by Megafest Business Awards.

· Honorary Award for Leadership Excellence by Zimbabwe CEO’s Network 2021.

· Outstanding Legal Practitioner of Repute 2021 by CEO’s Network.

· Nominated one of 50 Most Influential Women by Women Corporate Directors Network 2021.

· 1st Runner up in the Service Category of the Women in Enterprise Awards 2015 by Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

Vimbai Nyemba is an author. She authored a book titled, “WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH PROCUREMENT” in 2021.

18. Cordelia Eke– Nigeria

Cordelia Uwuma Eke is a Nigerian born legal practitioner based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Port Harcourt, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law, from the University of Kent, Canterbury in the United Kingdom. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1995.
She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators ICMC Nigeria, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. She specializes in Criminal law, and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Mrs Eke is the Author of the fast selling book- CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA, A PRACTICAL GUIDE, and has also published articles and edited legal works and Newsletters.

Mrs Eke is presently a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice, where she has been actively engaged in mediation, civil and criminal litigation at the high court, Appeal court, and the Supreme court for over 20 years. She is acclaimed as an ace prosecutor and has also held down several roles at the Ministry of justice, including, being the Team Lead, Committee on Drafting of Prosecution Manual and Code of Conduct for Prosecutors and Team Lead, Attorney-General’s Special Committee which treated abandoned casefiles of over 350 awaiting trial inmates in the Federal prisons in Rivers State.

Mrs. Eke’s expertise in criminal law practice made her a much sought-after Speaker, trainer, and Resource person on legal and other subjects and has presented papers to members of the Bench and the Bar, and the public at various Seminars, workshops, conferences and trainings including the Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conferences and Continuing Legal Education trainings, amongst others.

Cordelia Eke has held several leadership positions in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), African Bar Association (AFBA), African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria and the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN) at state and National levels, including being Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute and the National Executive Committee. She is presently a member of the NBA National Remuneration Committee.

Mrs. Eke has broken several glass ceilings, including being the first female Secretary of the prestigious NBA Port Harcourt Branch of over 7,000 members , and pioneer President of her Law school call set Alumni Association.
Mrs. Eke has continued to groom young lawyers posted to the Ministry of Justice during their service years for over 20 years, making time for personal coaching and counselling. She also assisted some of them in securing employment after the service year. Some of her mentees now run their own law practice while some are partners in law firms, Special Advisers to Governments, Law lecturers and even Senior advocate of Nigeria, amongst other leading roles in society. She has used her various roles to groom and mentor many young lawyers, male and female, teaching them self-confidence in excellence in aw practice.

As a women rights advocate, Mrs. Eke has continued to be a bridge builder across the female lawyers Associations of FIDA, AWLA and NBAWF in order to promote sisterhood, mutual respect, and support for other women.

She is a trail blazer, a role model to many young female lawyers and a mentor to law students, new wigs, and junior lawyers.

19. Tsakani Glory Maluleke-Sihlangu– South Africa

TSAKANI  GLORY MALULEKE-SIHLANGU was admitted Attorney since 27 November 1996 and she is highly motivated and results oriented individual, with massive experience in legal administration and Litigation. Also, through my work experience she has contributed greatly towards the advancement of legal practitioners and professionals.

She has also attained several professional development courses as follows: Coaching and Mentoring (2005),Trial Advocacy Train the Trainer(2006),Legal Writing (2011)

,Analytical Thinking Skills Training (2012),Advanced Criminal Trials (2013),High Court Litigation Training (2013),Litigation Techniques (2013),Presentations Skills Training(2014)

,Civil Litigation Training(2014),Family Law Training (2014),Disciplinary Skills Training(2015)

,Judicial Skills Training(2016),Mediation Training (2018),Medical Law Training (2019)

and Professional Directors Training (2023).

She is Currently employed as Head of Office at Legal Aid South Africa (2006 to date)

,Worked as a Supervisory Attorney at Legal Aid Board (2005),Worked as Professional Assistant at Legal Aid Board (2004),Worked at Legal Services Department at South African Police Services (2002-2004),Worked as sole practitioner at Maluleke-Sihlangu Attorneys (1998-2002),Worked as partner at Mushwana Maluleke Attorneys (1996-1997) and Served articles with Neluheni Attorneys (1994-1995)

She contributed massive on several organizations as follows:

General Treasurer of Letaba Congregation of Uniting reformed church in Southern Africa (2008 to 2019),Deputy Chairperson of South African Women Lawyers Association, Limpopo Chapter (2010),Chairperson of South African Women Lawyers Association, Limpopo Chapter (2014-2017),Deputy Secretary of South African Women Lawyers Association (2011- 2014),Hospital Board member of Van Velden Hospital (2010-2015),Head of Events and Campaigns of Black Lawyers Association, Limpopo Branch (2018 to 2020),Chairperson of Mentorship Committee for South African Women Association (2020 – 2023) and Trustee of SAWLA Development Fund (2020-2023).

20. Oyinkansola Badejo-Okusanya- Nigeria

Oyinkansola Badejo-Okusanya is a Partner at ALP NG & Co (Africa Law Practice) and co-head of its Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice. A barrister and ADR practitioner with specialization and considerable experience in domestic and international commercial arbitration, she represents private, corporate and state clients on a broad range of commercial transactions before trial and appellate courts in Nigeria.

She started out her legal career at Olaniwun Ajayi LP, after which she worked as Senior Special Assistant on Justice Sector Reform to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN in the Office of the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos State, Mr Olasupo Shasore, SAN from 2007 to 2011 and General Counsel to the Governor from 2011 to 2015.

A dogged and result-oriented barrister and ADR specialist, and a much sought-after resource on Litigation and ADR, Mrs. Oyinkansola Badejo-Okusanya is an accredited CeDR Mediator; a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb, UK) and a member of several associations including the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA); Arbitral Women, FIDA, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. She has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria Branch), and she sits on the board of the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA).

Mrs. B, as she is fondly called, is an organizer, leader, and motivator par excellence. She chaired the Annual General Conference Planning Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria Branch) for 3 years running; organizing successful annual conferences at Lagos in 2013, Abuja in 2014 and Port Harcourt in 2015.

A woman with a heart for service, as she describes herself, Mrs. B. has also served the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association in various capacities, including Assistant Secretary under the chairmanship of Mr. Akin Akinbote. More recently, she served as Chairman of the Dinner Committee for two consecutive years in 2021 and 2022. 

At the national level, she served in the TCCP of three Annual General Conferences of the NBA, in 2017, 2019 and 2020, before being appointed as the Alternate Chair of the 2023 NBA Annual General Conference. She currently heads the Annual General Planning Committee for the 2024 NBA conference working tirelessly to ensure the success of the conference. Mrs. B has been happily married for almost 30 years to Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, a renowned public relations practitioner, and they have a wonderful son.

21. Mamaretele Beatrice Mkhombo– South Africa

MAMARETELE BEATRICE MKHOMBO obtained her LLB degree from University of Limpopo in the year 2001 and served the Legal Aid Board South Africa as a candidate Attorney from June 2002 to May 2004. Admitted as an Attorney and qualified to practice on the 30th January 2005 and since then her name has not been suspended or removed from the roll to date.

In May 2004 to October 2004, she was appointed by the National Department of Justice on a contract basis as Legal Admin Officer.

In October 2004 to February 2009, she served the Limpopo provincial government Department of Economic Development, the Limpopo Consumer court to receive and investigate the consumer complaints of unfair business practices and to presents such matters in the consumer court.

In October 2015 to date she was appointed  as a small claims commissioner to preside in the small claims court Polokwane.

In May 2016 to June 2018, she was appointed by the Magistrate commission to act as a Magistrate in Mankweng Magistrate court.

She is at present the founder and Director in a black Law firm MAMARETELE B. MKHOMBO Attorneys (MBM Attorneys) and a Debt counsellor registered with National Credit Regulator (NCR)

On the day to day, she represents client in both criminal and civil work courts In and around Limpopo province in both Magistrate and High court and has also been accredited by Legal-Aid South Africa as Judicare practitioner to represents their client in both Magistrate and High Court for both civil and criminal matters.

She is furthermore appointed by the Limpopo Legal Practice Council as a member who seats on both investigation and Disciplinary committees.

She is also an executive member of Polokwane Legal Practitioners Association (PLPA) which represent the Polokwane legal practitioners their endeavors to improve the legal profession in the PROVINCE.

Furthermore, she is also a member of both South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) and Black Lawyers Association (BLA)

22. Matsidiso Catherine Muthivhithivhi– South Africa

Matsidiso Catherine Muthivhithivhi is a supervisory legal Practitioner employed by legal aid SA.
She obtained her B Proc degree in 1999 from the university of venda.
She then served her articles with university of Venda Law Clinic in 2001 and admitted as the Attorney of the high court in 2002.
She worked as a professional assistant doing Regional and high court criminal matters

She was later appointed as a  supervisory legal Practitioner in 2009 till today.
She furthered her studies with wits business school studying Senior Leaders Development course.
Catherine defends the poor and the indigent who cannot afford to pay legal fees in giving  legal advice , Criminal, civil and Estate matters for Free.

Matsidiso Catherine Muthivhithivhi is currently based in Legal Aid SA Thohoyandou Limpopo

23. Maria Malatji– South Africa

She has been admitted as advocate from 2007 and has been practicing as such, in the following fields: Land and Planning Law; Environmental Law; Labour Law; Rule 53 Reviews; Investigations relating to Public Law and issues of public interest; Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); and Unlawful arrests and detentions. Tax Law; Administrative Law; Human Rights Law; Medical Malpractice; RAF matters; Contract Law; Trust Law and Public Law.

Furthermore, she has the following qualifications: Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law and Governance – North west University, Potchefstroom Campus – 2013; LLB – University of Limpopo – 2004; B Iuris – University of Limpopo – 1995; Post Graduate Diploma in Drafting and Interpretation of Contracts – University of Johannesburg – 2006; Certificate in Legislative Drafting – University of Johannesburg – 2007; Post Graduate Certificate in Labour Dispute Resolution Practice – Wits University-2020; Advocates, Attorneys and other qualified legal practitioners Mediation Training – University of Cape Town – 2019.

Advanced Investigative Training for Administrative Watchdogs – Public Protector and Ombudsman of Ontario – August 2011; Disciplinary Skills and Grievance Handling – Lexis Nexis – 20 – 22 July 2011; Basic Mediation Skills – Centre for Conflict Resolution – 14 – 16 September 2005; Human Rights & Conflict Management (Module 1) – Centre for Conflict Resolution – 16 – 18 August 2004;She has  been appointed as the Chairperson of the Tax Board, Limpopo Province (responsible for tax appeals – SARS) for the period 2018 to date;

Senior Investigator, Public Protector South Africa, Limpopo Provincial Office, Polokwane 01 July 2006 – 2016;Acting Provincial Representative of the Public Protector South Africa, Limpopo Provincial Office, Polokwane – 01 March 2009 – May 2009;Investigator, Public Protector South Africa, Limpopo Provincial Office, Polokwane – 01 July 2002 – 30 June 2006;Acting Assistant Director: State Property Holdings and Assets Management National Department of Public Works, Polokwane Regional – 01 February 2002 – 30 June 2002;Senior Administration Officer: State Property Holdings and Assets Management National Department of Public Works, Polokwane Regional Office – 16 July 2001 to 30 June 2002; Council Member of Legal Practice Council (LPC), Limpopo Province 2022 – 2025 and Chairperson of the Professional Affairs Committee of the LPC, Limpopo Province 2022 – 2025;Council Member of Limpopo Society of Advocates (Limpopo Bar) 2018 to date; Honorary Secretary of Limpopo Bar – 2021 to 2024;

24. Tedenekialesh Tesfa– Ethiopia

Ms Tedenekialesh Tesfa, is an LLB graduate from the Addis Ababa University and a practicing lawyer for the past 26 years. And is currently serving as one of the Executive Committee members of the recently established the Ethiopian Federal Advocates Association. As an attorney Ms Tedenekialesh, has provided legal service to numerous private individuals, and companies registered at national and international level. 

Parallel to her private practice, is a member of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association and has been providing legal aid for almost two decades to women and children who do not have the financial capacity and the awareness to retain lawyers to protect their interest.

In addition, Ms Tedenekialesh has served as a  board member to EWLA and the Ethiopian Lawyers Association (ELA). Before joining the private practice she has been serving as a public prosecutor in the High Court of Ethiopia for six years.

Ms Tedenekialesh strongly believes that, though not enough, has made her contribution to assure and guarantee access to justice, thereby the rule of law especially to women and children who have been compromised financially. And these long years of service to these women and children still remain the highlights of her professional service.

And aspires to set up a firm with like minded professionals to upgrade the quality of the services at wider scale, and to have an impact on the development of the legal profession, of course to make an impact for the better realization of the rule of law.   

25. DOXA MBAPILA-Tanzania

Doxa Mbapila, Principal Partner and head of Endoxa Law’s corporate group advises clients in Tanzania and East Africa on a broad range of domestic and international corporate matters, including investment, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, exchange traded funds, capital market transactions including initial public offerings (IPOs), private placements, corporate bonds and sukuks, banking and finance and fintech. Doxa’s experience extends across industries, including fintech, telecommunications, energy and infrastructure, banking and finance, financial services and fintech.

Doxa has a BA Honors (Carleton University, Canada), LLB Honors in Law (Cardiff University, UK) and LLM International Economic Law with Distinction (Warwick University, UK). She is also an advocate of the Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania.

Prior to joining Endoxa, Doxa spent 15 years heading the legal and company secretarial departments of multinational companies like Citibank Tanzania, Stanbic Tanzania, NBC, Ecobank Tanzania and BG Tanzania (now Shell) and appeared twice in the General Counsel Powerlist: Africa. Doxa was a guest lecturer on commercial law at the Law School of Tanzania in 2023. She has also worked extensively on training fintech startups to navigate the regulatory landscape through Endoxa’s probono ‘all things legal session’.  With Endoxa being one of the few all female led law firms in Tanzania, Doxa mentors many young female lawyers

26.Rosa Van Niekerk (Dr)– South Africa

Rosa Van Niekerk (Dr)  studied law at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa and obtained a B.Prok Degree in 2000. 

She is currently the sole proprietor of a medium sized law firm called Rosa Van Niekerk Attorneys, in Westonaria, South Africa.  This is a general practice with practice cutting across  civil and criminal litigation, family law, contracts and debt collections.  Being a victim of both physical and emotional abuse, she has a passion for family law.  With an Italian mother and an Afrikaans father, her temperament is perfect for a Court / Litigation Attorney.

As a practicing attorney for the past 23 years she has focused a lot on Family Law and more specifically Domestic Violence. She walks her talk fighting in the Courts day in and day out for women effected by Domestic Violence / Gender Base Violence.

She is very passionately involved in humanitarian work for Gender Base Violence, bullying and children.

Interests

She is very passionate about horse riding and competes with her daughter Rosa Yasmine Van Niekerk) in Western Riding competitions in South Africa. 

She raises funds for the Reinhard Drewel Organisation – aiming to prevent child drowning through awareness and education.

Rosa is involved in multiple public speaking engagements about Gender Base Violence and bullying, spreading messages of Crown Up at churches, schools, business and public events.  One of her most remarkable public speaking events was, as the international guest speaker for PRETTY PEARLS AND CLUTCHES Women Empowerment brunch in Jacksonville, Florida, United States of America, during December 2019.

Rosa spends time with children readings books for them as part of the NADIBALI BOOK EDUCATION SYSTEM.

Through her passion for horses she has helped the ROTARA SCHOOL for children with disabilities, using horse equine therapy.

She has done lots of PRO BONO work for churches as well as individuals as an attorney through the years. She does this willingly because she is passionate about her community, realizing that there is a great need for legal assistance for people who cannot afford the services of an attorney.

During the lock-down period in South Africa, Rosa  joined a feeding scheme sponsoring food packages for families in need for, called “ADOPT A FAMILY”.

She is very involved in the Lenasia community and yearly attend the GHANDI WALK.

Rosa serves as a non-executive director of SAIFA (South African Film and Industry Awards) where young and upcoming talent in the film industry are recognised.

In 2017 she was invited by the Law Society of the Northern Province of South Africa to attend the training course to become an aspirant candidate judge for the High and Appeal Court of South Africa.  She completed the training successfully and now blessed to be part of a few attorneys that has this title in South Africa.

Rosa is a recipient  of the WOMEN OF WONDER Visionary Gauteng Award for 2020,WOMEN OF WONDER International Law Awards for 2020, held in Dubai,WOZA WOMEN in Law Awards, held at Emperor’s Palace, Gauteng, South Africa, WOMEN OF WONDER AWARD 2023, held in Mauritius.

In 2017, Rosa   entered into the world of pageantry, through her interest in make-up and is now the proud title holder of Mrs. Grand South Africa 2017.In 2018 she represented South African in Bulgaria and was crowned as Ms Classic Universe 2018.

27. Esther Ifeoma Jimoh– Nigeria

Esther Ifeoma JIMOH is the Principal Counsel of Estelle Attorneys & Legal Consult and her legal experience spans different areas of law including but not limited to corporate & commercial law, immigration law, property law, aviation law, human rights law, criminal law, family law, labour law and arbitration. Esther holds an LL.B Degree from the Lagos State University, obtained in 1999 and she was called to the Nigerian Bar in January 2001. She also holds an SEMP LL.M in International Business Law from the Metropolitan School of Business & Management, UK, obtained in 2013

For her NYSC, Esther served in the then Texaco Nigeria PLC in the Company Secretary, Public & Government Affairs’ Department from 2001 to 2002, and upon completion of her service, she was employed by the company as a Corporate Affairs Officer in the same department from 2002 to 2003. From 2003 to 2007, Esther worked in the then Chevron Oil Nigeria PLC as the West Africa Administrative Assistant to the Chevron Downstream West Africa Vice President and from 2007 to 2009, as the Chevron Downstream Marketing SOx, Execution & Compliance Coordinator for West Africa. From 2009 to 2012, she worked as an Attorney in MRS Oil Nigeria PLC, acting briefly as its Chief Counsel at the beginning, before resigning to go into private practice. Esther then worked as an Associate with the firm of Philips O. Njeteneh & Co from 2013 to 2015; as Head of Commercial Law Department in the firm of Usman & Elema SAN (Barristers & Solicitors) from 2015 to 2017 and lastly as Head of Chambers in the same firm from 2017 to 2022, following which she resigned to establish her own practice.

Esther is a committed member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch, an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK and Nigeria (CIARB). As a member of the NBA, she’s also an active member of the Section on Business Law (SBL); the Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL); the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria-Ikeja branch where she heads its Prison Watch Committee; the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria, the NBA Lagos In-house & Government Counsel’s Forum; the Surulere Lawyers’ Forum (SLF) where she served as a member of its 2021 Annual Dinner Planning Committee; the National Association of Catholic Lawyers (NACL), Lagos Archdiocese, where she is a member of its Pro-bono Group and was a member of its 2023 Conference Planning Committee, chairing the Logistics Sub-Committee; the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) Network and the Otu Oka Iwu Law Society, where she is currently its Publicity Secretary.

Esther has served the Bar as an active member of the Lagos Branch’s Ethics, Compliance & Dispute Resolution Committee; the Human Rights Committee and the 2023 Law Week Planning Committee where she was the Treasurer of its Budget & Finance Sub-Committee, before being elected as the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Lagos Branch for year 2023 – 2025, by virtue of which is the Chairperson of the Branch’s Human Rights Committee, where she is currently breaking records and setting new standards.

Esther, was immediately after her election as the Vice Chairman of the Branch, also appointed as the Co-Chair of the NBA Lagos 2023 AGC Planning Committee. Esther is currently a WADA (War Against Drug Abuse) Ambassador of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement

Agency (NDLEA) and the Legal Adviser of the Young African Leaders Initiatives (YALI) Network, Lagos Hub.

28. Anisa Govender– South Africa

Anisa Govender is a director and head of the Maritime Department at Livingston Leandy Inc and holds BA LLB LLM (Masters in Maritime Law) degrees from the University of KwaZulu – Natal. Admitted as an attorney in 2001, she has extensive experience in several aspects of shipping law, particularly ship arrests, admiralty litigation, emergency marine casualty response, ship finance, regulatory and general admiralty advice as well as ship and cargo sale and purchase. Of recent, her speciality practice has extended into the ports and terminals space, with involvement in Transnet boards of inquiry into damage of high value equipment and fatalities and review applications in respect of tender disputes.

Anisa is currently chairperson of the Durban Chapter of the Maritime Law Association and a non – executive director of the South African Maritime Training Academy.

She is the proud recipient of the 2022 WOZA (Women in Law) Award for Best in Maritime, Shipping and Environmental and has written several articles which have been published in the Sunday Tribune, Without Prejudice and Go Legal.

29. Natasha Chiumya– Zambia

Natasha Chiumya  is a creative entrepreneur who expresses herself through business. She was the founder of Folotiya & Chiumya which, together with her partners, grew to be one of the leading real estate law firms in Zambia. Arising from that experience, she established Diaspora Connect, an online real estate agency that helps Zambians living abroad buy property back home in a safe and reliable way. She is also a property developer, using her knowledge of the market to build and sell affordable apartments. Beyond real estate, she has experience in corporate finance, project finance, syndicated lending and insolvency matters. Natasha holds a law degree from Warwick University in the UK and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business of UCT in South Africa. She is a former Beit fellow and an award winning lawyer.

30. Gloria Tengera– Rwanda

Gloria Tengera aims to serve, grow her potential and empower others. She is a Business and Corporate Lawyer and a Certified John Maxwell Leadership Team Coach. With a combined professional experience of 18 years, she has learned and understood the power of having life skills in addition to technical and academic skills.

She is currently the Company Secretary and General Counsel of the Development Bank of Rwanda. A bank whose mandate is to drive and support the development of Rwanda. She serves as a member on the Bank’s Executive Committee (EXCO); Management Investment and Credit Committee (MICC); Portfolio Review; Risk Steering Committee; IT Steering Committee; Recovery Committee; and is the Chair of both the Disciplinary Committee and Staff Loan Committee.

She worked with AB Bank Rwanda where she served in two positions: first as the Company Secretary and Head of the Legal Department, and later as the Head of Risk and Compliance. Prior to joining AB Bank, she worked with Rwandair as Legal Counsel.

She holds a degree in Law (LLB) from the University of Rwanda and a Master’s (LLM) degree in Business, Corporate and Maritime law from Erasmus University, Rotterdam. 

She is the current Chair of the East African Law Society (EALS) Inhouse Counsel Committee. A committee in which she supports the Secretariat’s work of developing East Africa’s Inhouse Counsel’s professional capacity.

She is a co-founding member of Ubumuntu Arts Organisation an organization aimed at casting a light on issues affecting humanity through the performing arts and other forms of artistic expression.

31. Aisha Ado Abdullahi– Nigeria

Aisha, was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2005. She is the Vice President Legal – Abuja Chamber of Commerce and  Industry. She has done remarkable work in Mediation in Nigeria. Aisha is also the  Chairperson of the NBA Kano Branch Continuing Legal Education Committee. She has conducted a number of Trainings that has impacted on the practice of both young and senior Lawyers in Kano Branch.

Aisha is passionate about Capacity Building of Lawyers.

32.Sashi Nchito Kateka– Zambia

Sashi Nchito Kateka is a Partner in Nchito and Nchito, a leading full-service law firm in Lusaka, Zambia.  Sashi holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) obtained from the University of Zambia. Sashi was admitted to the Zambian Bar in April, 2005 immediately after which she joined the firm. Sashi is a trial advocate and transactional lawyer, advising and representing local and international corporations in various commercial transactions. Her experience spans competition law, labour law, pensions and corporate and commercial law. As a seasoned litigator, Sashi represents both local and international clients in mainly commercial and labour related disputes before all the superior courts of Zambia and has handled and won a number of cases in her over eighteen years of practice.

Sashi served on the Local Government Elections Tribunal 2016 and 2021 which was constituted after General Elections in Zambia in both years to deal with election petitions challenging the election of candidates to local government office.

Sashi is a past Honorary Secretary of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) having served from April 2016 to April, 2018. Sashi is also a member of the SADC Lawyers Association (SADCLA) and is the immediate past Treasurer of the Association having served in that capacity from August 2018 to March, 2022. Sashi is currently serving on the Legal Practitioners Committee of the Law Association of Zambia as Co-Honorary Secretary.

Sashi is passionate about the advancement of women lawyers and was a member of the organising committee for the International Bar Association’s Women Business Initiative Conference held in Livingstone Zambia in April, 2015. Sashi also participated in the Senior Women Lawyers Leadership Program organised by the Law Society of South Africa Legal Education and Development in August, and October, 2015. Sashi also served as judge for the Woza Women in Law Awards South Africa 2019 and 2022.

Sashi has continued to participate in other activities aimed at advancement of female lawyers and is currently serving on the steering committee that is working on reviving the Female Lawyers Association of Zambia(FELAZ) an organisation aimed at providing a networking and mentorship platform for female lawyers in Zambia.

Sashi has attended a number continuous professional development webinars organised by the Law Association of Zambia.

Throughout her years of practice, Sashi has mentored many young lawyers who are attached to the firm as interns while studying for the bar exams. Sashi has also mentored newly admitted advocates who come through the firm and actively participates in the mentorship programme organised by the Law Association of Zambia.

As part of giving back to the community, Sashi serves pro bono as a member of the Board of Directors for Zambia Health Education and Communications Trust, a non-governmental organisation which aims to reach the Zambian population and affect social behavioural change in HIV prevention and treatment.

Sashi has written a number of articles for the World Bank Investing Across Borders publication.

33. Podu Mdhluli- South Africa

Podu Mdhluli, born Mamabolo is the sole Director of the firm Podu Mamabolo Attorneys, which is 16 years old. Completed her LLB degree at the University of Venda in 2005, her Masters in Labor Law at the University of Limpopo in 2014, was awarded best student achiever awards for both course work and research dissertation respectively. She has been privileged to serve in several leadership roles in the professional Organizations Black Lawyers Association, South African Women Lawyers Association and Polokwane Attorneys Association, now known as Polokwane Legal Practitioners Association. She was the chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa Task Team. She has been appointed and acted as an Acting Magistrate at both Thabamoopo now Lebowakgomo and Polokwane Magistrate Courts. She is a mentor to many female students, candidate attorneys and female practitioners something she is very passionate about. She is a director in 6 other companies and a founding Trustee of Paballo Trust as well as Ripfumelo Foundation established to cater for needy women and children. She is the current secretary of AWANA and THYREST, both of which are NPO’s. She has been awarded two WOZA African Awards for best woman in labour as well as family in 2022. She has been privileged to serve as an acting judge in both the Polokwane and Thohoyandou Divisions of the High Court. She regards herself as a servant.

34. Elizabeth Samuel Karua– Tanzania

A Multi skilled professional with vast experience in legal practice; in house and external legal counsel. Ms Karua has more than 15 years legal experience, 8 years as in house counsel at AngloGoldAshanti- Geita Gold Mining Limited, she advises on all legal matters pertaining to the sustainability of the business which includes regulatory, compliance, group internal compliance, employment and labour relation matters, land/tenement management and use, contracts drafting and review, licenses and permits, company secretarial, external stakeholders management. She provides professional legal guidance while managing risks, advice, and counsel on corporate management regarding legal rights, obligations, and privileges of the Company to enhance the internal decision-making process and ensure adequate protection of the Company’s legal rights and interests in line with the Company strategies. Furthermore, she is a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee.

Prior to joining the Mining sector, she worked as an Associate at Mkono and Company Advocates in association with Dentons. Her career started as a lecturer at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College and part time instructor at the Law School of Tanzania, working at the university has aspired her passion and believes in knowledge sharing.

Ms Karua is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam (LLB) and holds Master of Laws (LLM) in International Business Law, from Middlesex University London United Kingdom, Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law School of Tanzania, Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management from Regenesys Business School, Sandton, South Africa, and a graduate from Female Future Leadership Tanzania program organized by Association of Tanzania Employers in association with ESAMI.

35. Harshna Munglee- South Africa

Ms Harshna Munglee is a member of the Honourable Profession. A practising attorney and Director of H, Mung-Lee and Associates for approximately 2 decades. She has been serving as a Smalls Claims Court Commissioner since 2018 and the 2nd runner-up the 2019 WOZA awards for social justice. She continues to serve as a human rights activist since 2005. She has made notably impact to the profession, popularly known for legal workshops specifically in the Pietermaritzburg area.

As a National Gender Officer of one the many human rights organisations she belongs to, she was instrumental in providing awareness on human trafficking to the legal arena, specifically lawyers in South Africa. Her leadership role on various legal structures has culminated in her passion and commitment towards corporate governance.

With various certifications and extensive experience on leadership, she continues to be consulted by various legal institutions. Continually captivating audiences during presentations on taboo legal topics. Aside from running a sole practice and social justice activities, she has been a mentor to many young professionals, not exclusively to woman lawyers and continues to remain gender neutral despite some women empowerment projects under her belt.

She is actively involved with schools and community projects, empowering both children, parents, and the community at large. Her service and dedication to the profession is evident by being the first lawyer to set up practice within an area in the community not done before, by ensuring legal services are easily accessible to the people. She continues to lead the way, by being the first virtual law office in KZN in 2018 and was a guide to the profession during covid.

Whilst Attorney is her professional job, she is a wife and mother, a job that she chose to place before her professional aspirations during the early years of raising 2 young children. Sacrifices were made foregoing leadership opportunities at the prime of her career, where over a decade of continuous service in the profession was made. A decision she does not regret, but a sense of disappointment at the profession that abandoned her in those crucial years of her career, having to face the harsh realities of rebuilding from scratch a legacy already built, to reclaim a space at the table, that she was already seated at is somewhat bittersweet.

By placing pride and ego aside and eating humble pie, she reminds us that work will always be there. She is an inspiration to young women currently grabbling with the same issue, bringing comfort and guidance by being an example to suspend certain professional goals temporarily in favour of raising a young family. Not one to shy away from taking the platform and engaging issues, that many will be uncomfortable to deal with, this is what sets her apart and makes her such a dynamic and impactful person.

She speaks from the heart, leads from the behind, makes impact to the front and most importantly continues to empower and inspire those after her.

She brings to the profession her professionalism, astute corporate governance, impactful leadership, ethics and empathy.

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36. Kelebogile Kewagamang Garebamono- Botswana 

. Kelebogile Kewagamang is a Corporate executive, Lawyer, admitted to practice in the Courts of Botswana as an Attorney, Conveyancer and Notary Public since the year 2005. She has received professional training in commercial law, project management, public private partnerships, derivatives, corporate governance, King IV Code on corporate governance, risk management, Botswana Stock Exchange fundamentals of investments and Botswana Stock Exchange listings requirements. Ms. Kewagamang is the founding and managing partner of Kewagamang Legal, a corporate commercial law firm in Botswana. 

The firm offers a full range of corporate and commercial legal services, including but not limited to: commercial law, transactional advisory, intellectual property law, civil and corporate litigation, financial recoveries, property, estates and labour law. Before founding Kewagamang Legal, she was previously a partner at Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys for 10 years. 

She has served as a non-executive board member in the following organisations: Central Securities Depository Botswana (CSDB); Chairperson: Nominations and Governance Committee Member: Admissions and Disciplinary Committee Legal Aid Botswana Parastatal; Member: Legal Resources Committee, Human Resources and Public Relations Committee. More Power Investments (Pty) Ltd. 

She is a founder of Motheo Lawyers Mentorship Trust, a CRS initiative that focuses on leadership, career development and elevation, ethics, training and professional development for young women in the legal profession. Her area of practice has afforded her an opportunity to handle instructions in mining on: licensing, contracts as well as labour. She is set to expand and cement practice.

She is currently the Board Chairperson of Vunani Asset Managers. 

37. Chisoma Nyemba- Malawi

Chisomo has a wealth of experience spanning legal practice and corporate leadership and is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and children. Chisomo believes in using her expertise to make multifaceted contributions in advancing economic growth and driving impactful change in society.

Chisomo is President of the Women Lawyers Association, an organization which champions the rights of women and girls. She has led various impactful projects, including a country-wide project on the elimination of child marriages in rural areas which was recognized worldwide including in a documentary by BBC Worldwide News and Glamour Magazine. Through the project, Women Lawyers Association has reached over 2000 women and girls in remote areas and the plan is to reach many more as the project is ongoing. She also pioneered a structured mentorship program for junior women lawyers covering various subjects including courageous leadership, the art of communication, negotiation, public service and running for office, and ethics and values in decision-making.
Chisomo started her career in private practice and quickly rose to the position of Principal Associate at a law firm which was established in 1978 and was a leading law firm in Malawi at the time, Savjani and Co. She advised and represented clients in various matters, including high-value, cross-border, novel and complex disputes. She then co-founded a law firm, DNC Chambers, and served as its Managing Partner. The firm was recognized as the Best Dispute Resolution Firm in its second year and is one of the fastest growing law firms serving local and international clients. Chisomo is also an executive leader serving as General Counsel for TNM Plc, Malawi’s premier mobile telecommunications company. She heads the Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Division and serves as Secretary to the Board. She also provides comprehensive legal support to various departments, including Information Systems, Commercial and Human Resources.

Chisomo serves as a non-executive Director of National Roads Authority and Justice Advocacy Africa which offers trial advocacy trainings to lawyers in Africa. She has organised and offered trainings for lawyers in Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Botswana,  on a pro bono basis as she believes that effective legal representation is crucial for access to justice.

38. Nkatha Murungi-Omondi- Kenya

Nkatha is a Partner at ENSafrica, Nairobi, specializing in project development, banking and finance, project finance, renewable energy and climate finance, with over 13 years’ experience. She previously worked at Kaplan and Stratton Advocates as well as at the Ministry of Energy under the Geothermal Development Company.

She has advised in numerous cross-border transactions with her client portfolio including project developers, multilateral organisations, international and local banks, and development finance institutions.

She has authored numerous articles on sustainable finance, carbon credit trading and climate change in Kenya. She is recognized as a Next Generation Partner (Banking and Finance) and Key Lawyer (Privatization and Projects) in The Legal 500 EMEA 2023 Directory.

Nkatha holds an LL. B and M.A (International Studies) from the University of Nairobi as well as an LL.M (International Economic Law) from the University of Warwick.

She is an active member of Rotary International and has been elected as the Governance and Ethics Director of her club.

39. Mpho Brendah Mabidi– South Africa

Mpho was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court of Republic of South Africa in 2011, and has since been in good standing from November 2011 to date. She went on to acquire her Masters of Laws in Labour Law from the University of Limpopo in 2013 and again she received the Top Student Award for her sterling work. In 2014, she completed a course in CCMA Specialist Training. She was appointed part time Commissioner of Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in May 2014 to date.

Before, she became an Attorney, she worked for Sadiki & Madzivhandila Attorneys as a Legal Secretary from January 2000 to December 2000, in January 2001 to December 2004 she was employed at Sadiki & Associates as a Legal Secretary. In January 2005 to December 2006, she worked for Mathobo Attorneys as a Legal Secretary. During the year 2007, she resigned to further her studies with University of Venda.

After her admission as an Attorney, she went on to practise on her own account from March 2012 till to date under the name and MB Mabidi Attorneys & Conveyancers based in Thohoyandou – Limpopo Province. During November 2020, she was admitted as a Conveyancer.

She is a dedicated member of society aiming to empower the communities in and around her location. From 2014 to 2016 she served as the Treasurer for the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) Limpopo Branch. In 2016, she was elected to the position of Limpopo BLA Deputy Chairperson to November 2020. Since 2017 to 2021, she serves in Limpopo South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) as a Treasurer, where she actively participates in empowering and assisting female Lawyers.

40. Lydia Manuli Lukwago– Uganda

Lydia Namuli Lukwago is a lawyer by training with a Bachelor and Master of Laws Degree from Makerere University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre. She is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda with seventeen (17) years’ experience. She is an active member of Uganda Law Society, East African Law Society and FIDA- Uganda (former Board Chair 2018- 2020). She is possesses hybrid skills in legal practice, strategic and development planning. She is particularly an advocate for gender equality and the vulnerable and marginalized especially the poor, women and children. Lydia is currently a practicing as a Legal Aid Service Provider at the Law Development Centre where she heads the Legal Aid Clinic and teaches at the Bar Course. She is in charge of planning and disseminating legal aid programs for the vulnerable and marginalized seeking legal assistance in and out of the justice system. She heads the Clinical Legal Education program and Legal Aid and Pro Bono Practice at the Bar Course. She also coordinates the teaching of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms. She hand holds Bar Course students to effective provide legal aid services while deepening their legal skills. Lydia has for the past six (6) years supposed the dissemination of practice skills to upcoming advocates in the area of Corporate and Commercial Practice, Civil Proceedings, Criminal Proceedings, Family Law Practice and Land Transactions through exposing the students to actual legal practice. As such as, she has built experience in network with a cross section of government and non-government stakeholders to create learning spaces for student advocates with focus on increased access to justice by unprivileged members of the Ugandan society. Lydia is very passionate about access to justice and a free and a justice society for all

41. Njiramanda Mbewe Boatey – Botswana

Njiramanda Mbewe is an admitted Attorney, Notary Public and Conveyancer in the High Courts of Botswana. She graduated with a Bachelor of Law from the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. She boasts over 11 years of experience in the legal field.

She is the founder of Mbewe Legal Practice a citizen owned and female Led  inclusive firm that practices in Gaborone. She is a Human Rights and anti Gender Based Violence activist and Her firms mission has been to be legal service with a difference.

She imparts legal knowledge to the nation on various platforms in the country like television, and radio. She has Participated in initiatives for the fights against Gender Based Violence and presented in a committee before the Chief Justice and also presented for private Foundations.

She is a currently a committee member of the human rights, rule of law and advocacy committee and a former member of the Law Society of Botswana Council. In the year 2021 her firm partnered with (BONELA) and had the first ever intervention against GBV in the wake of covid. It was launched by the Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti. Mbewe also founded Baagisanyi Network for this cause, which is  a group of professionals that were put together comprising of the District Commissioner, a kgosi, a reverend, and a social worker and Legal Ladies Botswana, a mentorship network which bridges the gap between attorneys and judges and successful women  for purposes of mentorship and personal development and growth. Attorney Mbewe has also successfully registered community Trusts for communities in the outskirts of the city

Recently, Njiramanda was selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow 2023 and is now an alumni where she had a closing address in Washington DC by the United States Secretary of state Antony Blinken. She is also a recipient of a congratulatory letter from Vice President of America Kamala Harris and a certificate of completion from the Presidential Precinct, a leadership organization,where she was placed. Her focus project is access to justice.

Njiramanda was selected for Fellowship Professional Development Experience and worked with American Lawyers at the Urban Justice Centre in New York , where she worked physically. She continues to run her firm and advocate for women and children’s rights with a special focus project on Access to Justice.

42. Melissa Ng’ania– Kenya

Melissa Ng’ania is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya of over 12 years practice at Ng’ania & Co. Advocates where she is the managing partner. Prior to founding her own firm, she worked for Havi & Company Advocates between 2012 and 2016. It was at Havi & Company Advocates that she horned her skills in litigation.

As a Legal practitioner, Ms. Ng’ania draws her robust experience from litigation of public interest matters as well as private commercial disputes. Ms. Ng’ania was in the team that represented the President Elect in the presidential petitions filed at the Supreme Court in 2017 and 2022. In 2017, she was the youngest lawyer to appear in the Supreme Court in a presidential petition suit. In addition, she doubles up as an adjunct lecturer at the Kenya School of Law- Advocate Training Programme where she has taught Civil Litigation for the last four (4) years.

Ms. Ng’ania has extensive board experience in both private and public institutions. She served as a member of the HIV and AIDS Tribunal between 2019 to 2022. She is currently serving at the boards of Micro-Cap Holdings, a fintech company and the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC).  

Ms. Ng’ania holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from Makerere University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law, and a Master of Laws (LLM) with specialty in Law, Governance and Democracy from the University of Nairobi. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Law from the University of Nairobi with a specialty in Corporate Governance.  In addition, Ms. Ng’ania is an active member of the Law Society of Kenya where she serves in the Practice Standards and Ethics Committee, a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Certified Mediator with Mediation Training Institute.

43. Alaka Lugonzo– Kenya

As a seasoned programme management professional with over eleven years demonstrable experiences on the intersections of community and stakeholder engagement, law, policy, advocacy, gender, business and human rights, and environmental justice aspects of the energy and extractives sector (Oil, Gas, and Mining, Just Transition and Climate Justice)

As the Extractives strategist and consultant her expertise is to manage projects, strategic thinking, influencing, securing resources for programmes, piloting innovations by identifying, working with, and building key strategic partnerships with development organizations, donors, governments, oil, gas and mining companies, civil society organizations, coalitions, and networks in Kenya and the African Region.

  • Some of her notable achievements are: leading an initiative with a major bank in Kenya, to provide specialized trade financing for women in the extractives value chain who would otherwise not have access to finance;
  • Reviving the extractive coalition the Haki Madini Coalition a grassroots network engaged in advocacy of Kenya’s extractives sector; working with key regional partners such as the African Mineral Development Center (AMDC) and their Green (critical) Minerals  agenda and the African Mining Vision;
  • Working with networks such as the Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group (KOGWG) and Haki Madini Coalition on continuous strategic engagements and interventions such as the Natural Resources Benefit Sharing Bill of Kenya (2022) and the Mining Amendment Bill of Kenya (2022) which has since passed at the Senate and in being debated at the National Assembly;
  •  Working with National and Regional Civil Society Partners, and Private Sector Partners such as The Kenya Chamber of Mines has seen the Government of Kenya lift the mining moratorium on issuance of new mining rights in 2023;
  • Working with partners to set up Mine to Market Initiatives such as the Gems Africa and the African Gem and Jewellery Exhibition Conference promotes trade of African gems and precious stones towards the growth of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector in Africa in alignment with African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA):
  • Worked closely with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the High Commission of Canada in Kenya to disseminate and launch the 2019 Gender Toolkit of Action and Strategies for Oil, Gas and Mining Companies in Kenya.

Alaka is the recipient of the Women in Business Award 2019 under the Environmental and Natural Resources Category.

She has recently contributed to a chapter Gender Justice In The Energy Transition Era: Exploring Gender And Technology In The Extractives Sector.” In the book: “Energy Transitions And The Future Of The African Energy Sector: Law, Policy And Governance

She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and hold a Master of Laws Degree (LLM) in Energy Law and Policy from the University of Dundee in Scotland and an Executive Certificate on Oil, Gas and Mining Governance from the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

44. Valerie Kawangu Chiyombwe – ZAMBIA

Valerie is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – UK. She has been practicing law for the past 13 years having been admitted to the Zambian Bar in the year 2010. Her practice areas include arbitration, mediation, business and commercial agreements, agricultural leases, procurement and construction contracts, debt management and advisory. Valerie’s experience as an arbitrator has involved disputes over joint venture agreements in construction; employment contracts and mining rights.

In 2021 she founded the law firm, Valerie & Partners, which specialises in Debt Collection, Contracts and Commercial agreements such as Debt Settlement Agreements, fintech agreements, high level facility agreements, share transfer and nominee agreements, Property transfer, lease agreements and energy agreements.

Valerie is the current chairperson of the Young Members Group of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Zambia Branch and the Convener – Education and Training. She has for the past two years served as council member on the Law Association of Zambia Council, on the Audit & Risk Committee of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Lake Road PTA School Audit and Risk Committee, Action Against Hunger Board and Information, Communication and Telecommunications Association of Zambia Electoral Committee.

Currently, Valerie is the Board Secretary and Legal Counsel at the Zambia National Public Health Institute.

45. Mariam Othman-Tanzania

Mariam is a practising advocate admitted to practice law in Tanzania mainland with over 10 years of experience. A dedicated professional with extensive knowledge of legal practices, regulatory compliance, strategic planning and a demonstrated history of leadership.

She is currently the Executive Director of Tanganyika Law Society which is the Bar Association of Tanzania Mainland with over 10, 000 members.  Her current role has demonstrated success in fostering collaboration, driving organizational growth, and advocating for the development in the legal profession. Committed to upholding the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

Mariam has an experience in serving as the secretary of the board and he obtained Certificate in Board Secretary Course (BSCP). She served as the corporate secretary of Tanganyika Law Society for more than 5 years.

 46. Eleng Mugabe -Botswana

Eleng Mugabe is an Attorney and Partner at Desai Law Group- a full service corporate commercial law firm in Botswana. She focuses on corporate law with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and competition law. She has acted for local and cross-border clients. Her experience includes advising on acquisitions of public and private companies including structuring and preparing all required transaction documents.

She regularly conducts and project-manages legal due diligence investigations for clients in a variety of sectors including banking and other financial services, mining, energy, consumer products, tourism and hospitality.

Eleng is recognized by the international research organization, IFLR 1000, as a Rising Star Partner for M&A transactions.

47. Munolwisho Elizabeth Ipangelwa– Namibia

Munolwisho Elizabeth Ipangelwa is a remarkable legal professional and Green Hydrogen Advisor who stands out in the field of Green Industrialization. With a strong legal background and extensive experience, Ms. Ipangelwa has made significant contributions to the development of the Green Hydrogen industry in Namibia.

One noteworthy milestone in Ms. Ipangelwa’s career is her involvement in the strategic, technical, and regulatory aspects of the Green Hydrogen sector. As one of the pioneers in this industry in Namibia, she has had the privilege of advancing an energy agenda that benefits the people of Namibia.

One of her notable achievements was the organization of Namibia’s first Regulatory Inception Workshop for Green Hydrogen. Through collaboration with fellow development finance institutions and the government, this workshop brought together government officials and agencies to establish an enabling regulatory environment for the industry. She is also supporting various government institutions to build capacity in the new emerging green industry.

In addition, Ms. Ipangelwa has played a crucial role in empowering various stakeholders through Green Hydrogen Masterclasses conducted nationwide. These masterclasses have benefited State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), youth, communities, and government institutions by providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the green hydrogen sector.

Looking ahead, Ms. Ipangelwa aims to shift the focus from Green Hydrogen to the localization of green industrialization. This shift seeks to involve local content and promote the participation of SMEs, youth, and fellow Namibians. By creating green jobs and fostering economic development, this approach will bring about sustainable growth and benefit the entire country.

Ms. Ipangelwa’s versatility and dedication to advancing green industrialization make her a standout legal professional. Her expertise in both the legal and green hydrogen sectors positions her as a valuable asset in driving sustainable development in Namibia.

48. Stella Muraguri– Kenya

Stella Muraguri does not take societal perceptions at face value. Neither is she fazed by challenges thrown at her feet. As the Managing Partner at MMW Advocates LLP, Stella believes that leadership should not be tied to gender. This explains her rise in the legal profession. When Stella took the reins at MMW Advocates LLP in 2019, it had only 4 employees. In less than 4 years, Stella has transformed MMW Advocates LLP into a powerhouse with a team of over 30 sharp legal minds. Her background has been in commercial litigation with a focus on banking law. However, after 10 years of leading this practice area, she knew that it was time to upskill from traditional banking practice to fintech and the law. Stella’s dedication to continuous learning shone through in 2023 when she pursued a Fintech course at Harvard Business School. Her focus on the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in financial services highlights her deep understanding of the sector’s future, especially concerning ethical practices and data-driven decision-making. This dedication is further brought to the fore by her involvement in the National Taskforce that conducted an assessment on the Money Laundering and Finance Terrorism risks associated with Virtual Assets and Virtual Assets Service Providers in Kenya. This underscores her proactive stance on regulatory challenges and the importance of staying ahead in the legal field.

Stella was a member of the National Taskforce that conducted an assessment on the Money Laundering and Finance Terrorism risks associated with Virtual Assets and Virtual Assets Service Providers in Kenya- spearheaded by the Financial Reporting Centre-Kenya.

She also sserved as the convenor of the High Court Commercial Division 2020-2023- she was a liaison between the commercial practitioners and judges as regards delivery and administration of justice and has fundraised for a project to purchase mobile phones for court clerks in the High Court Division to facilitate communication between practitioners and the court.

As a convenor, Stella spearheaded the Gazettement of the Practice Directions & Procedures in the High Court 2021

Stella sits as a Moot Court Judge at Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Technology where she offers internship and mentorship opportunities to the finalists of the moot court

She supports Wings of Hope and Tollem Children Home as part of her philanthropic solutions in empowering the society and community.

49. Njile Willy Alexander Bwana– Tanzania

Njile is a Co-Managing Partner and founder of the firm. She is a corporate and commercial lawyer who guides clients through their corporate transactions and provides hands-on advice in all matters related to corporate governance and business management. She has lead the firm into the biggest platforms whereas KKB Attorneys was listed as top 500 firms in 2022 by Legal 500 and in 2023 it was listed as one of the 1,000 leading financial firms in the world by ILFR under her leadership.

Njile is a member of the Tanganyika Law Society and East Africa Law Society, and she has previously served as a board member of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), which serves as a gateway for investors wishing to engage in Tanzania.

She is passionate about giving and she has been a member of Rotary Club Dar City since 2019 and she has also served as the Club President for 2022.

Her skills have enabled her to make various connections and gain more insight into all underlying structures of business law. Her ability to analyze risks and advise clients on the same before they potentially occur has made a trusted counsel and greatly recommended lawyer.

She holds a Postgraduate Degree from the Law School of Tanzania, a Certificate in Negotiation Mastery from Harvard University and a Certificate of Graduate Consultant from the Tanzania Institute of Management Consultants.

She is a skillful lawyer who has experience in advising countries pertaining several matters which needs legal expertise, and she has been an expert contributor for World bank on several topics for more than three years and she has received recognition for the same too from the World Bank for the three consecutive years now.

Njile is also a Founder and Managing Director of Reveurse Tanzania Company Limited, a top leading Human Resource Company in Tanzania, and she is also a Board Member of STEPS Tanzania.

Currently, she also serves as a Board member and the Vice President Of Young Women Entrepreneurs.

NJILE serves as an Advocate and Notary Public in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar and in 2022 she was named as one of the top 30 under 30 CEO’s in East Africa and in 2023 she was also named as the top 100 Executives in Tanzania.

50. Regina Mabwe– Zimbabwe

Regina Mabwe is an award-winning female barrister practicing law in the superior courts of Zimbabwe. She currently serves as the Head of Chambers (the first female and youngest advocate to serve in that capacity in Zimbabwe). She is a law lecturer and Co-Proctor at the University of Zimbabwe. A graduate of the University of Pretoria LLM International Trade & Investment Law in Africa, she is passionate about all things trade and women and is keen to explore and find creative ways within which women may meaningfully contribute to both domestic and international trade, become financially independent and contribute to key decision-making roles. She is equally passionate about human rights and has taken up public interest litigation matters in which she has successfully defended women’s rights. 

She is also an alumnus the University of Delaware (USA), University of Zimbabwe Law Faculty, Trade and Policy Centre in Africa and UNCTAD Trade and Gender Program, UNCTAD Summer School.  She was in 2017 named as one of the Brightest Young Minds in Africa and is a past Mandela Washington Fellow for young African Leaders.

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51. Nqobile Ndlovu – Zimbabwe

Nqobile is a Partner at Titan Law, who leads the Banking, Finance and Investments Practice Group, given her expertise in banking, insurance, the capital markets and financial technology. Her practice also includes Corporate Governance, Company Law, Commercial Transactions, Regulatory Compliance, as well as Anti-Money Laundering. She is a registered Legal Practitioner, Conveyancer and Notary Public with the High Court of Zimbabwe, who holds an LLB Degree from the University of Cape Town (2006), and an MBA with the University of Gloucestershire (2020).

She began her career as a legal practitioner in 2007 at Coghlan & Welsh in Bulawayo, and has worked as Legal Counsel to the Speaker of Parliament and General Counsel and Bank Secretary for international banking, insurance, and securities exchanges institutions.

Nqobile is a thought leader, who contributed in the reform of various legislation in the banking and corporate sectors under the World Bank Rapid Results Framework that was spearheaded by the Office of the President and Cabinet in the “Ease of Doing Business” reforms for Zimbabwe. Since 2015, she has contributed annually to the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and Law surveys. Between 2014 and 2019, Nqobile was the Secretary, Vice Chairman, and Chairman of the Legal Committee of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe. She is a Founding Member and the Chairman of the Association of Corporate Counsel and Governance Officers of Zimbabwe.

Nqobile has written several articles in the Institute of Bankers Magazine, The Zimbabwe Independent, the Law Society Magazine, as well as the Capital Markets Newsletter. She is the Editor of the Women in Law Connect Magazine, which celebrates Zimbabwean female lawyers.

In 2021, Nqobile and Theresa Muchinguri co-authored and published a book on the Zimbabwean Companies and Other Business Entities Act titled “A Guide to the Companies and Other Business Entities Act with Commentary, Checklist for General Counsel and Annexes”. Prior to that, Nqobile authored a high school textbook, and teachers’ guide titled, “What’s My Risk?” as well as an academic prospectus.

Nqobile is a round one judge for Africa Business Heroes and ENACTUS Zimbabwe. She is a board member of Minerva Benefits Consulting and Quant Africa Wealth Management. Nqobile is also an HIV Activist and Mentor, with a focus on HIV-prevention, career guidance and mentorship for young people from the age of 13. She does her work through Culture Shock Trust, an NGO she founded in 2008. She has received various accolades, including being recognised as number 12 out of 100 Most Influential Young Zimbabweans Under 40 by Gorendimabwe Frontier in 2022, as well as one of the 40 under 40 Most Influential Young Business Leaders in Zimbabwe in 2022.

52. Edith Utete– Zimbabwe

Edith is an attorney with fifteen years of experience in consulting and spearheading policy and legislative reform in the areas of broadcasting, digitalization, regulation of the radio frequency spectrum and intellectual property protection for innovation. As Co-Founder of Digital Wellness Africa, Edith is also a Digital Media Use and Online Safety Expert, raising awareness, educating and empowering children, parents and educators in the areas of digital skills and smartphone productivity, digital citizenship, cybersecurity, digital reputation management and digital wellbeing. She is passionate about legal and education reform that aligns with advances in technological development while providing a backbone for innovation and invention to thrive. She is also a strong proponent of cyber-risk management for digital enterprises and start-ups and provides support through mentorship, coaching and information dissemination. Edith believes in the power of tech to transform and empower communities and the ability of users to become significant producers of valuable digital assets and not mere consumers.

53. Yvonne Gurira-Mushunje– Zimbabwe

Yvonne Gurira-Mushunje is a distinguished and devoted animal lawyer who has left a lasting impact on criminal and wildlife justice, as well as animal advocacy. Currently serving as an International United Nations Volunteer Specialist, she contributes to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment in Southern Africa. As the Founder of Animal Advocates International, Yvonne plays a pivotal role in alleviating the suffering of nonhuman animals and championing their rights through legal means in Zimbabwe. Recognized as a Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) Global Ambassador for 2023, she holds the distinction of being the first female lawyer advocating for the rights of farmed animals in Zimbabwe.

She has consistently provided legal expertise on animal cases and has been instrumental in educating others on the legal protection of animals in Zimbabwe. Before her current role, she served as the legal manager for Speak Out for Animals, leading efforts in wildlife justice within the court system and providing training for investigators, prosecutors, and magistrates on combatting wildlife crime in Zimbabwe. Her professional journey includes a significant tenure as a principal public prosecutor with the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe, where she prosecuted criminal cases from the Magistrates Court up to the High Court of Zimbabwe.

She is a former wildlife law and policy fellow with the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington DC, USA. Yvonne Gurira-Mushunje holds a Master of Laws in Animal Law from the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, USA, as well as a Bachelor of Laws Honors Degree from the University of Zimbabwe. She has actively participated in global events, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of Parties 19, Animal Law Conference, Animal and Vegan Advocacy Summit, Taking Action for Animals Conference, and the Open Wing Alliance Global Summit, lending her voice for the welfare of animals. Yvonne’s exceptional dedication and commitment to the legal protection of non-human animals serve as an inspiration to many in Zimbabwe and beyond.

54. Joëlle B. Kabagambe– Rwanda

Defender Resource Center/ fellow of International Bridges to Justice (IBJ)

Deputy Director of Rwanda Bridges to Justice (RBJ)

Advocate Joëlle B. Kabagambe is a practicing lawyer in Rwanda Bar Association since 2010; she is not only a fellow at International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) but also serves as a mentor for the African Women’s Network for Access to Justice.

She joined Rwanda Bridges to Justice as the Defender Resource Center’s permanent lawyer in 2018 and has become Deputy Director since 2019 to date. Currently, she manages a taskforce of 160 lawyers as well as a network of Rwanda Bridges to Justice women lawyers and a JusticeHub app, focusing on criminal cases.

Advocate Joëlle holds a master’s degree in international criminal law and a law degree from the University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK). In 2015, she obtained another diploma from the Institute of Legal Practice and Development in Rwanda (ILPD).

Advocate Joëlle has defended numerous criminal, civil, commercial, and administrative cases. She serves on the administrative Board of the French International Bar Association and is a member of the Fédération des Associations et Union des Jeunes Avocats as well as the East Africa Law Society.

With 14 years of experience in the legal field, Advocate Joëlle’s dedication to defending numerous cases with skill and integrity demonstrates her commitment to justice and her determination to leave an indelible impact on Rwanda’s judicial system.

55. Michaela Herack Marandu- Tanzania

Michaela is an Advocate licensed to practice law in Tanzania and is currently the Head of Legal & Regulatory Affairs at Helios Towers, a telecommunications tower company with operations across eight markets in Africa. Michaela has over 10 years’ work experience cutting across various commercial and regulated sectors, including her current role in the telecommunication and tower industry. Michaela is at heart a business lawyer.

She is a proud member of the Tanganyika Law Society, the East Africa Law Society and a holder of two master degrees and a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Since 2009 Michaela spent a good amount of time working in private practice where she trained in boutique Tanzanian law firms as a junior lawyer advising local and international companies with business interests in Tanzania and Africa. Working her way through the corporate ladder, Michaela managed to upskill herself to becoming a Partner in an international law firm in 2019.

Michaela is a strong believer of personal development and is passionate about supporting others gain legal skills, knowledge and expertise through capacity building initiatives like secondments, mentorships and in-person or online training. Her passion for personal development can be seen through Michaela’s secondments to Clyde & Co in London for three months in 2014, and at BG Tanzania for six months in 2013 which sparked her interest in pursuing an inhouse counsel role.

Michaela hails from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, is the last born of five children, and a parent to a teenage boy. Michaela loves the wildlife! She is fortunate to have toured and travelled the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, Tarangire, Sadaan and even the base of Mt Kilimanjaro. Michaela enjoys living next door to the Indian Ocean and loves the island life when visiting Zanzibar. Her other interests include art and photography.

56. Liz Lenjo– Kenya

Liz Lenjo is a consummate IP, fashion, and entertainment lawyer of good standing for the past 10 years. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Copyright Tribunal. She has handled legal projects and briefs in various African jurisdictions as well as outside Africa; including Rwanda, Burundi, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. Liz has also consulted for the Kenyan government and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on matters of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions. She has also consulted for the Creative African Nexus (CANEX) by Afrexim Bank and led Intellectual Property Law discussions in Africa.

She has carved a niche as an Intellectual Property, Entertainment, Fashion, Media, and Technology attorney. She is also a published scholar and participates in research and interaction with professionals in various fields in the entertainment industry across the world.

Liz trains trainers, scholars, and industry practitioners in matters of Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law and all matters of creative economy.

She holds a Master of Laws degree Intellectual Property Law (LLM) from Università degli Studi di Torino, a Fashion Law degree from, Fordham University, a bachelor of laws degree from Catholic University of East Africa. She also boasts an Advanced Certificate on Mediation & Arbitration-WIPO academy, a CopyrightX certification from Harvard Law Schooll and a post graduate diploma from the Kenya School of Law

She is the Founder MYIP Legal studio and serves as a board member of NUPEA, Fashion Law Africa Summit and a member of the International Trademark Association and serves in the Global Advisory Council- Africa, Programming Council, and the Anticounterfeiting Committee.

Currently she is the Chairperson of Kenya Copyright Tribunal.

She has won several awards including:

  • Kenya Business Daily TOP 40 UNDER 40 2018
  • WIPRDiversity 2021 by World IP Review Shining Light
  • SOMA Top 25 Women in Digital
  • WIPRDiversity 2022 by World IP Review Diversity Champions
  • Africa Legal Innovations Awards 2022 – IP Lawyer of the Year
  • World Trademark Review 2024 – Bronze Awardee – Leading Trademark Practitioners in Kenya

57. Abimo Toyosi Olayiwola– Nigeria

Business Lawyer and Digital Law Practice Consultant

Founder, Digital Lawyers’ Network

Abimo Toyosi Olayiwola is the Principal Partner of ABILEGAL Barristers & Solicitors and founder of Digital Lawyers’ Network, a community of over three thousand digitally savvy lawyers across the world. She is a business lawyer and a digital law practice consultant who helps lawyers leverage the internet and social media to build profitable legal practice.

As a digital lawyer with passion for delivering legal services through cutting-edge technology, she coaches lawyers, some of whom are senior lawyers and highly respected Professors of law, on the necessary skills to run a profitable digital law practice. Her passion has driven her to speak at various gatherings of legal practitioners on the need to embrace digital technology in delivering legal services and to leverage the internet and social media to build profitable legal practice. She also consults for law firms about online reputation management and digital law practice.

In recognition of her depth as a technologically-driven lawyer, her mentor, Mrs. Funmi Roberts (Funmi Roberts & Co.), the pioneer of CADRI initiative, invited her on board of the steering committee of CADRI an online Alternative Dispute Resolution platform that seeks to resolve Covid-19 related commercial and contractual disputes in conjunction with the Oyo State Multi-Door CourtHouse; The Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre; and International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation Abuja.

As a fledgling lawyer, she cut her teeth at R. A. Ogunwole SAN where she gained profound litigation experience. Moving thereafter to Prime Solicitors, a digitalised law firm where her soliciting expertise was honed and her passion for digital law practice was ignited. Immediately before starting up ABILEGAL Barristers and Solicitors, she worked at Olaniyan & Olaniyan where she rose to become the Head of Chambers.

Abimo holds a Bachelors of Law degree (LL.B) from North American University, Benin where she graduated as the youngest in her class and she also attended the Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus where she graduated at the age of twenty-one. She holds a Masters of Law degree (LLM) from University of Ibadan and she is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association. In the bid to gain better grasp in her line of practice, she has gained due certifications in online mediation, website designing, digital marketing, and graphics designing.

Her contributions to legal practice has been highly recognised in the Nigerian Legal industry,

making her a recipient of various awards to with:

1. Simplex academy : contributions to legal profession awards 2021.

2. Oyo State Humanity Brands Award 2022 (awarded to her law firm: ABILEGAL)

3. Top 50 outstanding legal luminaries in Nigeria 2022

4. Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum National Conference Award 2023

5. 100 most influential lawyers in Nigeria 2023.

In March, 2023, she was also nominated as one of the top three exceptional Nigerian

women in law practice by TEWA awards

58. Mercy Mutemi– Kenya

Mercy Mutemi is an advocate dedicated to taking on cases that shape our digital future.

She is the lead advocate in a case challenging the Facebook algorithm for prioritizing dangerous and inciteful content and for being discriminatory against African users. At the same time, she is litigating three labour rights cases by Facebook and TikTok Content Moderators who suffered mental health harm from doing content moderation work. Her vision is to fight for fair and responsible roll out of technology in African countries. African countries and Big Tech companies must safeguard the workforce behind the rollout of technology while simultaneously ensuring that African users consume safe and quality technology.

Mercy is heavily invested in pursuing fair Internet and Tech policy through litigation. To this end, she is currently litigating a case asking the courts to declare access to the Internet a basic right in Kenya, to facilitate access to crucial government services which are now online. If successful, this case could see a drop in the cost of Internet access and more policies geared towards achieving universal access. She was also involved in the public interest litigation challenging the roll out of the Huduma Namba and the Device Management System. As a result of these cases, the courts have given clear guidelines on how to roll out biometric and surveillance systems that respect and uphold human rights.  

She is also committed towards upholding freedom of expression online through litigation. She is currently in court challenging the Fake News offences in the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act which have been used to shrink civic participation by arresting dissenting voices. She represents local and international media houses who have been sued for publishing investigative pieces exposing violation of human rights. It is hoped that through her work the courts will uphold freedom of expression online and freedom of the media.  

Mercy is the Managing Partner at Nzili & Sumbi Advocates which has two branches; Nairobi and Mwingi. Through her Mwingi office, she has been able to take on impactful public interest litigation cases such as a constitutional petition challenging the forcible vaccination of children without parental consent.

59. Keneilwe Mabapa– South Africa

Keneilwe Mabapa is a practicing Attorney, Notary, Author and Director at Keneilwe Mabapa Incorporated, a law firm that was established in 2016 and focuses on family law, estate planning and administration.

She is a human rights activist who started conducting Street Law workshops whilst still a law student and later joined the Black Sash, a human rights non-governmental organization, in 1994 as a volunteer paralegal, working her way to the position of Director in Gauteng. These activities developed her passion for helping people understand, embrace, and use the law to protect themselves and their families.

She later joined the Human Rights Commission as a Provincial Coordinator/Legal and Education Officer, government in senior positions but left in 2014 to start afresh and pursue admission as an Attorney and got admitted in 2016.

It was whilst serving articles that she came across challenges in the area of family law, especially with regards to the recognition of customary marriages and the impact of invalidating existing civil marriages. She started hosting workshops to make people aware of the changes and their potential negative impact on existing marriages, estate planning and inheritance.

The workshops led to her writing a book titled “Before, During and After the Wedding, which is a book on the legal implications of marriage in South Africa.

She has served as a part time lecturer for African Law the University of Limpopo and tutor at the School for Legal Practice (Limpopo), covering topics such as Wills and Estate, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Labour Law.

At the height of the COVID -19 and lockdown period, she published COVID-19 updates on the lockdown assisting people navigate the regulations prevailing at the time, whilst continuing to create awareness about on marriage, divorce and estate planning to inform people about their rights and responsibilities online.

She is currently serving in the Investigative and Disciplinary Committees of the Legal Practice Council (Limpopo). Besides practicing as an Attorney, she also uses her experiences at court to contribute to the current efforts by government and the South African Law Commission to change existing marital laws in South Africa

60. Ropafadzo Sandra Shoko– Zimbabwe

Ropafadzo Sandra Shoko, the “StartUpBae,” is a registered Zimbabwean lawyer, a 2015 Joshua Nkomo Scholarship beneficiary and a 2023 Mandela Rhodes Scholar.  She is invested in the pursuit of Africa’s industrialization towards poverty reduction through the growth of start-ups. Having transceded through the different fields of law she is currently affiliated with Elevate Trust. She specializes in the StartUp space, working closely with young entrepreneurs and innovators to transform their ideas into profitable ventures. Her role extends to establishing a Buy-Zimbabwe Youth and SME desk, fostering private-public partnerships, and offering continuous training for operational SMMEs. She aims to create a StartUp fund and is developing the first Zimbabwean StartUp database in pursuit of building a supportive ecosystem for SMMEs. Her work has been recognised by being awarded the 2022 Enterpreneur of the Year by Ignite Youth and recently she has been appointed as a board member of the World Bank Solutions for Youth Employment Advisory Board. Ropafadzo is pursuing a LLM Law and Business in Africa at the University of Capetown. Her dissertation centers on establishing a legal framework for SMMEs especially startups within the AfCFTA. Her recent continental work has seen her as a young voice for the startup space at the Alliance for Enterpreneurial Universities held by UNECA and specially invited to the High Level Policy Seminar towards an intergrated Africa held by AU and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). She has also been invited to join the AfriLabs Delegation to Represent the African Technology and Innovation Ecosystem to Saudi Arabia.

61. Hope Ndao– Zambia

Hope Ndao is a Partner in the corporate, finance and commercial transactions services team at Mulenga Mundashi Legal Practitioners, with a wealth of experience in local and cross-border commercial transactions. With over 9 years of experience, Hope has acquired vast experience in advising both local and international clients on an array of subject matters including banking & finance (including corporate financing, debt financing, trade financing, project financing, sovereign debt, ESG financing, green financing, and debt restructuring), capital markets, impact investment & sustainability, employment, and corporate and commercial law. Hope is also a determined litigator in employment law disputes and has been key in successfully winning cases for her clients and in protecting her clients’ interests. Dedicated to excellence, Hope was awarded best graduating student by the Zambia Institute of Advanced legal Education for the 2016/2017 Intake and has been rated as a Rising Star in the IFLR1000, 2021 – 2023 editions in Banking and Finance in Zambia with respect to Corporate and Finance transactions.

62. Sandra Dizwani– Zimbabwe

Sandra Dizwani, an accomplished Senior Associate at Absolom & Shepherd Attorneys, brings passion and expertise to the realm of land and natural resources law. With a stellar litigation track record, she’s recovered over USD20 million in high-stakes cases. As a dynamic conveyancer, Sandra manages the firm’s portfolio, co-authoring insightful pieces on Construction and Engineering Law, some of which have been featured in the 10th edition of the International Comparative Legal Guides 2023. Beyond the courtroom, she’s a leading voice on the “Unbiased” legal podcast and a judge in prestigious high school moot court competitions in USA and Europe. Currently pursuing a Master of Laws in Land and Natural Resources, Sandra also champions a cause close to her heart — she is the Founder of Sandra Dizwani Foundation a trust established in 2021 and supporting children born and growing up in the prison system.

63.Rumbidzai Venge– Zimbabwe

Rumbidzai Venge – holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Glamorgan, South Wales, United Kingdom, she is currently a Partner at Corious & Co. Attorneys, Harare, Zimbabwe.  Her areas of professional interests include but are not limited to litigation in Criminal, Civil and Family Matters, Labour law, Intellectual Property, and Corporate Governance. She is an integral part of the litigation department at the firm and enjoys breathing life into the tenants of the Law and applying legislation in any circumstance.

She participates largely in efforts to avail legal information and resources to the public being heavily involved in nationwide radio programs and featuring on television forums such as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), and Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN) to ensure access to legal information is widespread and demystifying legal rights to vulnerable demographics in Zimbabwe. 

Rumbidzai is currently a presenter at a Metropolitan radio station CapitalkFM 100.4, she was previously also an independent consultant for Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) anchoring AMH Conversations and presenting a program ‘’Legal Matters’ on their digital radio station Heart & Soul Radio. The platform allows for issues related to the elevation of women’s and children’s rights, sensitization on domestic violence, gender-based violence and family law issues. The reach of radio enables more people to gain awareness of their rights, equips them with information, and ultimately empowers the vulnerable. This has had a significant impact as the listenership is applying the principles shared practically and an increase in testimonials. A real shift has been seen in how women have embraced their constitutional rights.

Outside being a radio presenter, she is a philanthropist and active member of the Rotary Club of Harare West, holding the office of the past president of the Rotary Club of Harare West [2018 – 2019], notably the youngest woman in 54 years of existence of the club. This in itself opened up spaces for young women and pushed the needle forward.  Serving as a Rotarian has opened up numerous avenues to access women and elevate women’s rights as two of the service areas related specifically to women’s rights: Maternal and child care and peace and conflict resolution/prevention, this allowed travel across the region hosting coaching clinics and seminars in various communities, the underlying objective was to spread awareness of rights, counsel any victims and direct them to the relevant centres to receive the help unique each situation required.  She was recently appointed to Zimbabwe Women’s Law Association (ZWLA) board and is a board member.

Dreams and aspirations in Zimbabwe: to gain influence through the media and continue the conversation on the rights of the vulnerable, have an impact on policy, and hope to have a seat at the table in respect of organisations and ministries created to cater to women’s rights.

Rumbidzai has had the pleasure of combining her passions in practicing law, media, and charity work.  A typical week is very diary-oriented, court days and appearances, client consultations, radio programs in the evening [1800 – 2100 Hours CAT], and various speaking engagements on issues of gender empowerment are also slotted in. Sometimes 24 hours is not enough! Nonetheless, the work has to be done.

She is a member of the SPCA and a volunteer. She also enjoys reading, writing poetry, spending time with her beloved dogs, practicing yoga, long-distance running, motorbiking and learning diverse cultures.

64.Muchimwa Mbulo- Zambia

Muchimwa Mbulo is a Zambian female legal practitioner aged 31. She holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Bachelor of Commerce Law Degree which she obtained from Nelson Mandela University. She is admitted to the Zambian Bar and has over 6 years of experience. In 2023 she set up a branch of a Kenyan corporate advisory and a human resource firm in Zambia called Bellmac Consulting Zambia Limited. She also established a law firm called Mbulo and Partners Legal Practitioner. She is a member of the Association of Young Arbitrators and has a keen interest in alternative dispute resolution. She is currently training to be a mediator.

Muchimwa was previously an Associate in the Corporate Advisory Department of DLA-Piper Chibesakunda & Co. in Lusaka, Zambia from 2019 to 2023. Before Chibesakunda and Company she was Council Advocate/Assistant Director Legal Services at Kasama Municipal Council in 2019. She was also an Associate at Isaac and Partners from 2018 to 2019 and a Legal Assistant at Muya and Company Legal Practitioners in 2016. Muchimwa specializes in corporate advisory and employment law.

She is also the co-founder of an non-governmental organization called Street Law Zambia which promotes respect for the rule of law by empowering and educating citizens with practical legal knowledge.

65. Beatrice Joyce Moyo– Zimbabwe

Beatrice Joyce Moyo is an established commercial lawyer and conveyancer, with over 7 years’ experience. She is a member, in good standing, of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and is currently Managing Partner in a law firm in Harare. She has a proven track record of bringing innovative solutions to complex legal issues faced by clients in the most cost effective manner.

She holds an LLB cum laude from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2016) and an LLM with distinction in Commercial Law from the University of Cape Town (2020). She is a Professional Director as certified by the Directors Association in South Africa. Beatrice has been directly involved in supporting countless State Owned Enterprises, listed companies and SMEs with a broad spectrum of complex legal issues. She has particular expertise in corporate law; her main practice areas include commercial litigation, corporate governance, the formation, structuring and restructuring of business entities, as well as providing structural and regulatory advice pertaining to the corporate, commercial, and financial services sectors.

She sits as a non-executive board member in the Real Estate Investment Trust Association (REITs) in Zimbabwe, a vehicle created by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to regulate and advance the cause of REITs in the country. She is also a non-executive board member of Longden Steel (Private) Limited and chairlady of the Corporate Governance and Remuneration committee. In addition, she sits as a trustee in Celebration Ministries International and a non-profit organisation called Teen Rescue Mission which champions the fight against drugs in the youth in Mashonaland.

She is co-author of the Directors Handbook in Zimbabwe, a corporate governance reference guide for sitting and aspiring board members, that outlines key corporate governance principles in terms of Zimbabwean law. She is an avid writer, with various publications in regional newspapers and is co-founder of Lex Amicus, a legal platform created to educate the public on various legal issues.

66. Neema Ayoub Magimba-Tanzania

Neema is a practicing advocate admitted to practice Law in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. She is a passionate lawyer with a demonstrated history of leadership.

She is currently the Managing Partner of Extent Corporate Advisory, a corporate and intellectual property law firm providing services in Tanzania Mainland, Zanzibar and ARIPO.

She is also one of the Co-Founders and the Head of Legal for Sheria Kiganjani (Law On Your Palm),a digital platform that provides easily accessible and affordable legal services through mobile phones to over 48,000 Tanzanians who cannot access justice due to financial and geographical constraints.

Neema is a member of the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), the Zanzibar Law Society (ZLS), the International Trademark Association (INTA), the International Association for the protection of

Intellectual property (AIPPI) and the European Communities Trademark Association (ECTA).

She was celebrated as one of the 2020 “100 Tanzania Sheroes” by the Embassy of Sweden and the Launch Pad Tanzania and recently won the 2023 Andrew E. Rice Award for Innovation and Leadership in International Development by a young professional.

67.Lebani Mazhani -Botswana

Lebani attained her LLB degree in 2016 from the University of Botswana. Lebani is passionate about Law and Healthcare, and is pursuing a Masters in Medical Law and Ethics (LLM) at the University of Kent, Canterbury UK. Her work as an activist in Botswana earned her the prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the academic year of 2020/21. 

She currently works for the EU Rights Clinic, a non-profit service between The University of Kent and the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS). Lebani has a key strength in research and is able to adapt to a wide range of specialties of law. She has experience as a Prosecutor and is an Assistant Registrar of Deeds in Botswana, a Conveyancing specialist. Lebani is versatile and has experience as a freelance writer for The Botswana Gazette, and as a radio talk show producer and host.

 She is passionate about Public Relations, and has been key to several innovative PR campaigns at the Deeds Registry Office in Francistown, Botswana. 

Her ultimate goal is to ensure end-user satisfaction in all her work, and that no matter how big or small the activity is, it directly benefits the ordinary citizen whom it serves, without cumbersome complications. Additionally, Lebani is an eloquent Public Speaker and a published author of note. She continues to aim for unmitigated personal growth, usually ending one accomplishment with the announcement of another. Her personal goal is to work with the World Health Organisation, taking part in ensuring that the right to health is not a textbook theory, but one that is equitably realised by all.

68. Lozindaba Mbvundula– Malawi

Lozindaba is a Young Professional at the World Trade Organization. She is placed in the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division, where she focuses on competition policy and government procurement. Prior to this, she was a Senior Associate at Ritz Attorneys at Law, a commercial law firm in Malawi, where she practiced law for five years,  with competition law and international trade and investment law being her core practice areas. She also served as a lecturer in law at the Catholic Universiy of Malawi in 2023. She has immense passion for sustainable international development.

Lozindaba obtained her Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of Malawi in October 2018. She was admitted to practice law in Malawi in November 2018. She also holds a Master of Laws Degree in International Trade Law obtained from the University of Cape Town in March 2022 and a Master of Laws Degree in Law and Development from the University of London in 2024. Additionally, she holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Public International Law and a Postgraduate Certificate in International Environmental and Natural Resources Law, obtained from the University of London in December 2022 and August 2023 respectively. She completed her studies with the University of London under the Canon Collins Scholarship, which she was awarded in July 2021. She has also undergone training in Alternative Dispute Resolution, facilitated by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, of which she is a member.

Lozindaba is committed to developing her leadership skills. She trained under the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2022. Placed at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, United States of America, she received mentorship in both organizational and public leadership. She is a member of the International Leadership Association, a global community dedicated to leadership training. She also served as the president of the Blantyre Chapter of the Women Lawyer Association of Malawi from January 2022 to February 2023.

Lozindaba is also an avid researcher. She has presented informative papers at seminars/conferences organized by the COMESA Competition Commission, Competition and Fair Trading Commission, African Economic Law Network, University of Johannesburg, Malawi Law Society and the University of Malawi. She is also a contributor to legal guides on Lending and Secured Finance, Telecommunications and Energy for Global Legal Insights and ICLG.

69. Sandra Sekayi Makarutsa-Zimbabwe

Sandra holds an LLB from the University of Stellenbosch class of 2019. Upon completion of her studies, she worked for a Private Voluntary organization named Care at the Core of Humanity, with the role of Legal officer and Legal research officer. While in this position she assisted many marginalized women and children who were survivors of Gender based violence to find their place in the world, outside of the abuse. Some of the projects she ran, empowered these women to start their own businesses and to be self-sustainable. She then went into practice as an Associate Intern in 2022 at Muvingi & Mugadza Legal Practitioners, one of the most renowned Law Firms in Zimbabwe which is a member of the Alliott Global Alliance Group. There she assisted with several high-profile cases both in Litigation and Arbitration.   She is currently working for an American Insurance company in the Operations Department, as Team lead and manages a diverse team from different parts of the world including the Philippines and India.  

70. Fadzayi Mahere– Zimbabwe

Fadzayi Mahere practices as an advocate at the Harare Bar. Her main fields of practice include constitutional law, commercial law, family law, human rights law and administrative law. She also takes on appellate criminal work and specialised crime. She holds an LLM from the University of Cambridge and an LLB from the University of Zimbabwe.

Prior to reading law at Cambridge, Fadzayi worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague and for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She was also awarded a Pegasus Fellowship from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London, which enabled her to work in various Chambers in London, including Essex Court Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers. She has marshalled with Judge Paget QC at the Old Bailey in London. In addition to her practise as an advocate, Fadzayi is also a law lecturer in the fields of Property Law and Administrative Law.

Fadzayi was recently elected as a Member of Parliament for Mt Pleasant constituency and was appointed to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

71. Grace Thindwa– Malawi

Grace Thindwa is a dedicated and accomplished legal expert with a strong commitment to justice, human rights, and advocacy for marginalised groups. Having been born in Malawi, she furthered her education at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, earning a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree. Grace has showcased an impressive array of skills and qualities throughout her academic and career paths. She is highly skilled in litigation advocacy, case analysis, strategy development, and effective communication and negotiation. With meticulous attention to detail and a talent for fostering strong relationships and teamwork, she has achieved recognition and success in the legal industry. Grace became a member of the bar in November 2018, being listed on the Roll of Legal Practitioners following a successful petition to the Supreme Court, High Court, and Subordinate Courts of Malawi. Grace is dedicated to her work and also participates in professional organisations and volunteer activities. She is a part of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) and the Women Lawyers Association (WLA), engaging in various initiatives to support women’s and children’s rights. She has held different roles within these organisations, such as being a member of the CPD sub-committee of the Malawi Law Society and serving as Secretary for the Blantyre Chapter of the Women Lawyers Association of Malawi. Grace is highly engaged in volunteer work through the Rotary Club of Lilongwe-Lingadzi, in addition to her legal commitments. She has occupied leadership roles within the club and made substantial contributions to various community service projects, such as educational initiatives, environmental conservation efforts, and campaigns to raise awareness about human rights. Grace Thindwa’s strong commitment to her work, along with her dedication to social justice and community service, establishes her as a highly regarded and impactful individual in Malawi’s legal field. She is dedicated to maintaining the principles of justice, fairness, and equality, highlighting her position as an advocate for positive societal transformation.

2 thoughts on “Courtroom Mail 100 Women 2024

  1. I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your website. It seems like some of the text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thanks

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