Posted on October 11, 2019
The “new” Director of the UP Law Clinic, Eddie Hanekom, recently participated in a skydiving competition, hosted by the local skydiving club Skydive Pretoria, at Wonderboom National Airport. His team emerged victorious in their event.
Hanekom returned to the UP Faculty of Law as the Director of the UP Law Clinic on 1 May 2019. “Due to some peer pressure from two of my friends, I started jumping as a civilian in 1982 at the Stilfontein Skydiving Club. We still jumped with round parachutes. For a number of years I also jumped in the Defence Force as a paratrooper. In the beginning, I didn’t really enjoy it very much and I only jumped sporadically. In the late 90s my very adventurous wife, Unita, decided she will join me in skydiving. Not taking no for an answer, she forced me to join her at Skydive Pretoria. We jumped together for a number of years, but she has since retired from skydiving. Her passion nowadays is totally focussed on animal rescue, and I support her all the way.”
An annual event, the skydiving competition is called the “Peter Lawson Cup”. It is named after one of the most celebrated champion skydivers in the country. This year’s competition started on 21 September and ended with a prize giving ceremony on 24 September, Heritage day.
Hanekom is a member of the oldest permanent skydiving team in SA, the United Nations Skydiving Brotherhood. This team was formed in 1989, and Hanekom became a member in 1999.
Not only is it the oldest team in South Africa, but it also boasts the oldest active skydivers in the country. The most senior skydiver is 68, and another two team members are 64 and 62 respectively, leaving Hanekom at age 56, one of the younger members.
His team competed in the skydiving discipline called “8-way Speedstars”. For the uninitiated, this means that 8 team members jumps out of the aeroplane unlinked (not holding on to each other), and in quick succession, then freefall down at speeds up to 300 kilometres per hour, to form a star in the sky. After they have held the star for 3 seconds, they then track in a bombshell pattern away from each other in the sky and open their parachutes.
A ninth team member is a dedicated cameraman, and his job is not to join the formation but to film it. Once he has landed he hands the footage over to the judges on the ground, who then watch it and judge whether the task had been completed successfully. They also use an electronic timing system to judge how fast the team completed the “speedstar”. The team with the fastest average time to the star, over three judged skydives, wins.
After some fierce competition, the UN Skydiving Brotherhood emerged victorious as the winners of the 2019 Peter Lawson Cup 8-way Speedstars competition.
The UP Law Clinic is certified and accredited with the Legal Practice Council as a Law Clinic and operates as an attorneys’ practice. “The only difference between us and a private practice”, Hanekom says, “is that we may by law only assist very poor people on a pro bono basis.”
“I regard myself so lucky to be at the UP Law Clinic. It is a sterling example of work-integrated learning as well as blended learning innovation. The attorneys and other staff are very skilled and experienced in their fields, and the students that take Practical Law as a final year module have to work with actual clients and on real cases. It is an intensive skills-developing module. We also have a whole bunch of candidate attorneys, some of whom are busy studying towards their LLM degrees. They are most dedicated to the Law Clinic and their work to help the indigent and vulnerable in our community is of exceptional standard.”
“What strikes me the most about both the UP candidate attorneys and especially our final year Law students, is how happy and excited they are to share in this project. They are woke.”
“These young people at the UP Law Clinic are so enthusiastic! They give us a lot of hope for the future of South Africa.”
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