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Unisa students share their journeys – Natasha Chiswa

Natasha Chiswa

Law student Natasha Chiswa says that growing up, she was always eager to bring meaningful and significant change to people’s lives. She maintains that justice is a powerful tool that should be used to bring about change and ensure fairness and equality.

24-year old Natasha Chiswa is a fourth-year student studying towards the Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree at Unisa. She lives in Durban with her parents and four siblings. She says she is thankful to her grandparents, parents and family for always being there for her, for loving her – their endless efforts, sacrifices and teachings, which have brought her this far. The gratitude she has for her family can hardly be expressed by words and fills her heart with love and joy. Her family have made many sacrifices for her to get so far with her studies and she considers herself to be the luckiest daughter, as they have given her wings to fly and she believes that not even the sky is the limit.

Natasha firmly believes that change is mediated by taking action. From a young age, her grandparents always reinforced that she could not expect change to happen without taking action herself. Growing up, she was always eager to bring meaningful and significant change to people’s lives. She maintains that justice is a powerful tool that should be used to bring about change and ensure fairness and equality. She has always been determined to be the voice of the voiceless and have an impact on people’s lives: ‘Being the future generation, it is our social responsibility to embrace and ensure positive dynamism in the key areas of our social life.’ She is an alumna of SABWiL (South African Black Women in Law), and former Treasurer (twice elected, from 2017 to 2018) and Media and Publicity Officer (2018 to 2019) of the Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter, Unisa (Durban).

Studying law at the University of South Africa was the first step in attaining her objective to serve her community. She says it offered her the opportunity to develop a range of skills and explore many aspects of human life. It also gave her the chance to sharpen her mind and strengthen her understanding and deepen her experience across the full range of the humanities and social sciences, whilst cultivating advanced communication skills and nurturing her confidence and self-esteem, making her adaptable to several situations, as well as career transitions.

Her eagerness and motivation are clearly reflected in her previous law-related activities. In 2016 she had the privilege of being a volunteer at Victim Support at Montclair South African Police Service in Durban. For her, this was an enriching and exceptional experience, as she learnt first-hand about the key issues concerning maintenance and domestic violence. In November 2017, she worked at Tate, Nolan and Knight Attorneys doing vocational work with candidate attorneys. Her brief involved law research, court attendance and attending to queries and client consultations.

Being elected as a student leader, she says, came with many responsibilities and tasks and offered her the opportunity to realise her leadership qualities. She served the students to the best of her ability by guiding them on various matters, ranging from personal to profession-related issues. Her character and inner strength were also enhanced through assisting other students in so many positive ways.

‘The path to completing my LLB has been filled with so many lessons, opportunities hardship and pain,’ she maintains. It has not been an easy journey. Completing her LLB degree (40 modules!) through distance learning and such requires personal discipline and strength of character. She learnt the core values of endurance, independence and responsibility. Being part of students organising themselves into groups and cooperating with other students also helped her adapt and develop key skills in managing the challenges of the modern era.

As they are facing the Covid-19 pandemic, she would like to advise all students to keep their focus and not allow a global pandemic to stop them from being who they want to be in the future. ‘Lay a strong foundation now and have a better tomorrow. The choice lies upon each and every individual to be safe, maintain social distancing, wear masks and keep focus, awaiting a brighter side. Don’t be discouraged …..’

* By Jo Cossavella, Communications Officer, Unisa KZN Region

Publish date: 2020/08/21