The Faculty of Law (UP Law) at the University of Pretoria (UP) announces with pride and congratulates the overall winning UP Moot Society team, with their co-team members from Makerere University (Uganda), of the 29th African Human Rights Moot Court
An elated coach Phenyo Sekati reports as follows on the participation of the UP Law team and the consequent results:
‘I am pleased to announce that after eight long months of hard work and sleepless nights, the UP Law team was announced as the winners of the 29th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition after having won the final round on 5 December 2020. Additionally, the team also ranked second for the Best Written Memorial category, and ranked first in the preliminary rounds of the AHRMCC.
In a year of firsts, we are honoured to be the winning team of the first virtual rounds hosted by the Centre for Human Rights. Moreover, we are grateful for the opportunity that the competition has given us to not only expand our knowledge on human rights laws and violations in Africa, but to also collaborate with universities across Africa amidst a global pandemic.’
Oralist Dinendri Pillay (LLB II) says that ‘Participating in All Africa has been a significant milestone in my legal journey. It has been a remarkable experience to observe my teammates and I grow under the insightful guidance of our coaches. I am ever grateful to be part of the prestigious UP mooting community who made sure that our skills were refined to the highest standard of excellence.
This competition has reignited my passion for advocating for human rights, especially where African jurisprudence is lacking, such as freedom of expression on the internet regarding sex work and pornography. Interacting with our Ugandan teammates for the final was particularly enjoyable as we learnt from their unique mooting culture. I am extremely thankful for friendships forged and knowledge gained and am honoured to have spoken before the esteemed judges in the finals.’
Oralist Thuwaybah Moses (BCom Law II) shared similar sentiments and further stated that ‘The AHRMCC has been the toughest, yet most rewarding experience. Hearing that my team and I placed first is one of the highlights of my life. However, there is no singular reason for why this eigth-month journey was so fulfilling. Rather, it is a culmination of countless things such as my hardworking, lovable, and quirky team. The cheeky banter at the start and end of every training session never failed to get me chuckling. COVID-19, online learning and the mountain of work that needed to be done in preparation for the competition certainly made this experience incredibly challenging. However, I never doubted that I could lean on the support and encouragement that I had received, not just from my team, but the Moot Society as whole. I am extremely grateful for all I have learnt; all I have achieved and all the amazing people I have met. I will always look back on this time fondly.”
Antonie Ackerman (LLB III), in providing his perspective as a researcher for the team noted that, “As Steve Jobs once said, ‘If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.’ Having partaken in this competition, I cannot stress enough that one cannot approach a moot competition without passion and dedication. Throughout the course of the competition, candidates will be required to make sacrifices, be it socially or academically.
One has to come to terms with one’s shortcomings, and at times will experience some degree of imposter syndrome during one's development. In this regard, I feel it necessary to refer to the words of Don Zimmer, who states that ‘What we lack in talent, we can make up for with desire, hustle and giving 110% all the time.’ If nothing else, this competition has given me a great deal of confidence and it has shown me that great speakers are cultivated through hard work and that they are not just gifted with talent alone. I have also come across some amazing individuals that formed our team, and who I am now proud to call my friends. It is an experience that I will always cherish and that I would recommend interested candidates to partake in. With that said, I end with a final quote from Walt Disney, who states that ‘The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’”
Kiranteba Coetzee (LLB III) concludes that ‘The journey to mooting gold is one that is filled with many sleepless nights, hours gazing into a computer and questioning one’s decisions. It is in no way a glamorous adventure.' However, he stated further that “In the end, holding the trophy is almost an insignificant part of this epic journey. Cliché’s exist as the continued reconstruction of an idea to the point at which the idea becomes a parody of itself. They nonetheless exist for good reason. Cognisant of this, I proclaim in the most authentic way possible: that the friends I made along the way were far more significant than the destination. To laughs, criticism, tears, growth and admiration, I salute you, my comrades in moot.’
Appreciation is extended to the UP Moot Society and a special vote of thanks is also extended to the Dean's Office for its continued support and assistance in securing venues for the moot proceedings.
In their respective capacities as assistant coach and researcher, I would like to thank Kiranteba Coetzee and Antonie Ackerman for their exceptional work, support and continued dedication towards the team's success.
Finally, to the winners, Thuwaybah Moses and Dinendri Pillay, your hard work, passion and resilience has finally paid off and it has truly been an honour to coach such brilliant and talented young women. Your futures are undoubtedly bright, and I have no doubt that you are well on your way to making significant changes to the world of human rights and public interest law.
- Phenyo Sekati (BCom Law) LLB III - Coach and Faculty Representative