Law has new scholarships on offer

09 October 2006

The Faculty of Law is offering 10 full scholarships to African students from South Africa in 2007, in a move to address the marked shortage of black students in the faculty.

While there is a good proportion of African students in the faculty, most hail from other SADC countries.

The scholarships will be awarded to two top black African matriculants from the Western Cape who will be entering the law faculty for the first time in 2007, as well as to eight current law students for the final three years of study.

Announcing the launch of the scholarships, Dean of Law Professor Corder said that the scholarships will have a considerable impact on sustaining justice in diversity, to the benefit of the country as a whole.

"Our Constitution and legal system cannot survive, let alone enjoy the confidence of the people they serve, unless students of the highest intellect and integrity are drawn to the legal profession from all sectors of our society," said Corder.

"At present, the least represented sector is that of black South Africans. This is not unique to UCT; but it is more pronounced in the Western Cape, a phenomenon that results, inter alia, from the effects of the pass laws and the infamous Bantu Education Act."

More than R1-million has been committed by the faculty to sustain the scholarships. Of this, R200 000 is being drawn from the faculty's Endowment Fund to create the two full scholarships for two matric graduates. This covers tuition fees for a four-year undergraduate LLB degree.

The remaining funds have been secured through fundraising. Thanks to the generosity of four law firms - Deneys Reitz, Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, Herold Gie, and Werksmans - as well as alumni in the UK and South Africa, the faculty is able to cover the scholarships for the eight current law students.

According to Corder, the faculty has worked hard to transform itself over the past few years. The faculty has moved from having one woman lecturer in 1986 to 23 in 2006. Sixty-three percent of the student body is female, and the racial split is almost 50/50, he said.

"However, the one issue that remains to be addressed is the relatively small number of black African students from South Africa. We are confident that this new initiative will further enhance diversity in the faculty."

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