Waterford Kamhlaba United World College Southern Africa - (WKUWCSA)

Elizabeth Mzungu (Kenya, WK 02 - 03)

What years did you attend Waterford Kamhlaba? (What forms/year group?)

Form 2-3 (2002-2003). Pretty easy to remember, right?


Please tell us what you have done or are doing at the moment? (e.g.. what you studied and what field you are currently working in)

I went to the University of Pretoria and completed my Bcom Law (cum laude) and LLB degrees between 2007 and 2011.

I then had a ‘flash in the pan’ in traditional legal practice working at a Law firm before I left to find work in the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) space. I spent 3 months unemployed, this was the 2nd of 3 times I’ve been without work, so it hasn’t all been rosy. But that leap of Faith paid off when I started at a mediation company in Johannesburg.

I have since moved back to Swaziland and am currently an Adjudicator at the Ombudsman of Financial Services. So to put it plainly I’m in the ADR field, within financial services.  For now.


Could you tell us what inspired you to pursue your career path.

I ended up in ADR because I realized that I wanted to help people part amicably more than I wanted to “win” in court. I really have the deepest respect for traditional practice, but my career path allows more room for people to find their own solutions at a lower cost. And when they can’t find a solution, at least the litigation path was not chosen for them by people whose lives won’t necessarily be affected by the outcome.

We hear a lot about peace-Keeping forces but how many people get to say they make peace for a living?

Did Waterford in any way play a role in your career path choice?


If yes: then what has that role been.

I had no idea how unique Waterford was until I Ieft to go to a typical South African private school. Waterford’s embrace of diversity and appreciation of more than just academic and sport performance set me towards a career path that explored more than the traditional means of solving legal (or other) problems.

I am was born in Kenya, raised by Kenyans in Swaziland and trained as a professional in South Africa.  Waterford was also the first place I got to see that being a third culture kid didn’t have to be seen as a disadvantage. It was the start of me being comfortable going against the grain.


What advice would you have for aspiring students who would want to be involved in
similar areas of expertise?

[DISCLAIMER: This advice assumes that students already appreciate that they will always have to work their butts off at Everything, especially themselves.]

Bryan Stevenson says that “The opposite of poverty is not wealth. It's justice”. In a lot of African countries we fight for legal rights and pass legislation that don’t always speak to economic or social frameworks needed for people to actually enjoy the freedoms we legislate. Lawmakers don’t always address the reality of how profitable injustice is for certain players. 

I think any student who wants to do well in the legal industry must understand that they are not just going out to tackle difficult cases but difficult systems. You need a willingness to learn more than the mechanics of the Law and understand the world around you. 



Do you have any fond memories of Waterford? Could you possibly share one with us and could we also ask you to send us one or two pictures of your time at WK?

I have many! Fondest was definitely the 24 hour run and seeing how people came together. It’s one of those moments I still remember what it felt like to be in. 


Most embarrassing moment at Waterford?

My most embarrassing moment is the kind that could ruin campaigns for public office in the future, so I’m going to skip this one.


WK crush?

Kealeboga Mogodi, by a landslide. 


What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. LV) without a doubt.


Who was in your WK #squad (friend group)?

Nomsa Kim & Pauline Kajibwami (now Gollop) faithfully heard all my stories and helped navigate through all the melodrama of high school.

I might be claiming these ones because I was day bug but: Futhi Mamba, Yolanda Mseka (now Kamwendo), and Kemiyondo (then Karen) Coutinho appear in the highlight reels of my short time at WK.



Favorite teacher/Most hilarious teacher?

Mr O’Connor. He was tough and had a dry sense of humor, both in just the right amount. There was a day in class when a few of us were either really early or had stayed behind and he sang Gabrielle’s ‘Out of Reach’ while playing guitar, and that single act cemented his legendary status for 14 year old me. 

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