UCT alumnus appointed chairman at top SA law firm

07 October 2021 | Story Nicole Forrest. Photo UCT News. Read time 5 min.
Ezra Davids
Ezra Davids

University of Cape Town (UCT) alumnus Mzwandile Ezra Clavis Davids (Ezra Davids) was recently appointed as a senior partner and chairman at law firm Bowmans, one of the leading corporate law firms in South Africa and Africa. The nomination is the latest in a string of career successes for the top mergers and acquisitions attorney, who will hold the chair for five years, effective from 1 October 2021.

Davids, who holds a BA and an LLB from UCT, has worked on some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in South African corporate history, including the US$1.7 billion (R25.3 billion) acquisition of Pioneer Foods by PepsiCo and the US$107 billion (R1590 billion) merger of SAB Miller and AB InBev.

According to Bowmans deputy chairman, David Mpanga, Davids’ term will see him focus “on delivering world-class legal services to clients across the continent, widening Bowmans’ African footprint and contributing towards the betterment of societies in which it operates”.


“UCT is … the alma mater of some of the most energetic and driven social justice activists, like Mr Davids.”

The objective of improving the societies in which the firm operates is one that Davids holds dear, as evidenced by his active involvement with various non-governmental organisations in the education, social justice and rule of law advocacy spheres.

Development and marketing manager in UCT’s Faculty of Law, Gaby Ritchie, highlighted that the university is proud of Davids’ work with the Social Justice Initiative, Freedom of Law and the Student Sponsorship Programme, among others.

“We are very proud of our Public Law Department and the work of the research units linked to it. While our Law alumni are among the top legal professionals both locally and globally, UCT is also the alma mater of some of the most energetic and driven social justice activists, like Mr Davids.”

A source of encouragement

Aside from being a point of pride, Ritchie added that having industry leaders like Davids – who is a serving member of UCT’s Council and a regular contributor to law textbooks – involved in nurturing future generations of lawyers is invaluable.

“At UCT, the ongoing engagement with and involvement of our alumni in the life of the faculty is absolutely critical to the academic endeavour. The participation of our alumni in university and faculty activities reflects excellently on the experiences that an alumnus had as a student at UCT, and is the strongest indicator of the value that a UCT education has had for that graduate,” she said.

“For students to experience the continued engagement of an alumnus with their home faculty means that they are able to see what being a graduate of the university will likely mean for them in their social, professional and economic lives. This serves as huge source of encouragement.”

In addition to inspiring law students, Davids’ involvement with the Faculty of Law aids in improving the teaching and learning paradigms, and strengthens the university’s standing as a world-class institution.

“The engagement of the faculty with professionals in the field – especially those of the standing, excellence and achievement held by Mr Davids – serves directly to inform our teaching, our course content, and the formulation of and commitment to our graduate attributes,” noted Ritchie.


“Davids in particular sets the best kind of example of excellence in the legal profession and as a graduate of the UCT Faculty of Law.”

“Having alumni such as Mr Davids contribute to knowledge development and sharing serves to strengthen both what we offer through our courses and the student experience of learning at UCT. This is essential for our standing, both locally and globally, as a law school.”

Ritchie emphasised that the Faculty of Law is deeply proud to be able to call Davids one of its own.

“Mr Davids in particular sets the best kind of example of excellence in the legal profession and as a graduate of the UCT Faculty of Law. This directly contributes to nurturing our next generation of lawyers, who are no doubt inspired by Mr Davids’ professional achievements in South Africa and internationally. At the UCT Faculty of Law, we are deeply proud that Mr Davids is ‘one of us’,” she added.

Success for one is success for all

While Davids’ achievement is undoubtedly the result of hard work and perseverance, Ritchie reiterated the value of having a UCT Faculty of Law alumnus reach such a high level of success.

“This kind of professional success for a UCT law alumnus is deeply affirming for the faculty. Once again, it emphasises and demonstrates that the educational and skills foundation provided by the faculty puts in place the strongest possible foundation for professional success. Combine our LLB programme with the excellence brought by an individual student, and we have an unchallenged recipe for success.”

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