I attended Dominican Convent School (“DCS”) from 1994 until 2003. After matric I attended the University of Cape Town and studied towards a Bachelor of Laws (“LLB”) degree. Upon completing my LLB degree in 2007, I obtained an internship at the Constitutional Court of South Africa as a research clerk, and I clerked for both Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Bess Nkabinde. In 2010 I started my articles, as a candidate attorney at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys, and I am currently serving my last year of articles with the firm. I will be admitted as an attorney in the second half of 2011. DCS prepared me for the life ahead by instilling the principle that ‘nothing comes without hard work’. We were always encouraged to do more than just what the syllabus required, and we were taught that you should understand your study material not merely know it so that you can repeat it in exams. DCS equipped me with sound Christian values, which are crucial when entering a profession which is often thought to be cold, harsh and densely studious. We were encouraged to be individuals, and to make our own decisions. Most importantly DCS allowed us to be children, and enjoy being a child. I never felt pressured to grow up too fast. DCS created an environment where I was able to discover who I was and it encouraged all of us to be individuals and figure out what our individual dreams and goals were. Intellectually, the school equipped me and prepared me for the pressures of university study. Studying towards an LLB is tough, and it can get very disheartening but if you understand that through hard work any goal can be achieved then you have the push to persevere.
I matriculated from Dominican Convent School in 2002 and took a trip down to the Mother City to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town. Those four years were honestly the best of my life. I went from being the smartest guy in matric class to being one of many ‘smartest guys from their matric classes’. I met with inexplicably intelligent students from all over the country, continent and world. The experience of not being the best anymore taught me a great amount of humility, and contextualised my place in the world of academics. It was a great lesson; university is where you go for real growth, you learn to transition from being a child to being an adult. You learn about balance, prioritising and compromise. I was lucky to have studied chemical engineering at the best university in Africa for chemical engineering. Now wherever I go people stand up straight when I tell them what and where I studied. :-) But that’s not where it all began. Yep, as you might guess, it began at school. Remember the lyrics to the Dominican school song: “… Tis a school that is fond not of knowledge alone, but of purity, goodness and love …” From when I first went to Dominican as a nine year-old in Mrs Crane’s Standard 2C class, one of my first memories was of Sister Natalie and the staff giving us bibles to read both at school and at home. To this day, 17 years later, I still have and use that bible. That was my first real taste of the school, and it was one of “purity, goodness and love”. I grew up and eventually became deputy head prefect in matric; along the way meeting many teachers that have left indelible marks on my character. Those teachers taught me the value of “working” for your success, not relying on ‘being smart’. Those lessons I learned both from school and university I have managed to use in my working life. I learned about being intrepid in the pursuit of my dreams. In my short work life so far (3 years) – my work has taken me to Manchester, London in England and Houston in the United States. In September of 2011 I will be moving to work in Oxford and London, England for a period of three years, and in the process will complete my masters in chemical engineering. All these things I can say, without a doubt, are due to two things that have been “the best guide of my youth”, that is the education I got and of course, our beneficent God. :-)