UniZulu student wins top law award

Subashnee Gounden is an animal lover, a first dan in karate and has a passion for seeing justice done. Along with obtaining 14 distinctions and two first class passes in the final year of her LLB at the University of Zululand (UniZulu), these are some of the reasons why she is the winner of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society award for best student in the province.

Gounden received the award, which has been running for many years, from the Attorneys’ Fidelity Fund chairperson, Silas Nkanunu at the society’s annual general meeting on October 14 in Durban.

She is also the recipient of the UniZulu Council gold medal award for best final-year student in the faculty of commerce, administration and law and the Lexis-Nexis award for top law student at the university.

She says she owes her academic excellence to her parents, who she lives with in Empangeni.

“My parents have supported me in everything I do. I don’t have a car so they would give me lifts to and from the university. My mom would often wait for me on campus to finish my lectures to be able to take me home again,” she said.

Focusing on HIV/Aids
She is currently studying for a master’s degree in labour law. Her focus is the legal protection of employers and employees in relation to HIV/Aids.

The inspiration behind her choice of focus is her view that the disease is a “national epidemic that we should all be addressing”.

When she has completed her master’s degree she plans to go into arbitration while simultaneously studying for a doctorate in law.

The 22-year-old animal lover also intends offering a pro bono service to animal cruelty cases.

Her family owns three dogs who she calls her “friends”.

“I might not be able to help every animal but as a lawyer maybe I can help a few locally.”

First dan in karate
Doing karate has taught Gounden self-discipline, among other lessons, and has helped with her studies, she said.

She has her KwaZulu-Natal and South African colours in the sport which she says allows her time to “relax and get my thoughts together”, even though it has been quite tough, at times, to fit in with her studies.

“You need self-discipline when studying and the lessons you learn from karate, like how to control your temper, help to prepare you for life.”

 
Victoria John

Victoria John

Victoria studied journalism, specialising in photojournalism, at Rhodes University from 2004 to 2007. After traveling around the US and a brief stint in the UK she did a year's internship at The Independent on Saturday in Durban. She then worked as a reporter for the South African Press Association for a year before joining the Mail & Guardian as an education reporter in August 2011. Read more from Victoria John

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