“There is a difference between earning to make a living and living to make a difference.”



University of Pretoria Law Clinic (UPLC)

Ronewa Khakhu, 21, is a  student councillor at the University of Pretoria Law Clinic. She consults with vulnerable and indigent clients, answers the queries and ensures they have access to legal representation, without incurring fees. She also works for the Willmore Youth Foundation, a non-profit organisation working to ensure that youths across South African communities make wise career and lifestyle choices. As well as doing an LLB at the University of Pretoria, Ronewa recently graduated from the E-commerce Capacity Development Programme, which aims to increase women’s participation and success in online business. She was selected from 500 entrepreneur applications globally by the Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Ronewa made it onto the Law Faculty Dean’s Merit List Award 2022. “There is a difference between earning to make a living and living to make a difference,” she says, something she has clearly taken to heart in her work, fulfilling her dream of playing a role in helping people get access to justice. She would like to see the school subject Life Orientation put more emphasis on helping pupils to navigate their lives and make career choices in line with workforce demands in South Africa and their interests. “In this subject, the students must be taught, or at least exposed to, ways in which they can create jobs for themselves and others, in different areas, such as starting their own businesses, and entrepreneurship.”

  • National Senior Certificate, Thengwe High School, 2019
  • Foundational Principles degree, Teaching English or French as a Second or Foreign Language, Arizona State University, 2021
  • English Language and Literature/Letters, Asean Online Education, 2021
  • Small business Management Training, Tony Elumelu Foundation, 2022
  • Global Litigation Virtual Experience Program, Herbert Smith Freehills, 2022
  • E-Commerce Capacity Development Programme, African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, April 2023
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB), University of Pretoria … 2023

  • Law Faculty Dean’s Merit List Award 2022.
  • Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Scholarship Award 2022.
  • Completion award for Global Virtual Experience. Program ‘The Lawyers Who Did not Live by law alone’ by Asanda Magaqa in honour of participating in the Conference of Transformation of the legal profession, 2022.
  •  Tuks Residence Special Mention Award for the positive tacit and express influence of perseverance on fellow students and colleagues.
  • Top 10 Public Speaking @Speak Your Mind

SAASTA Schools Debate on current affairs medalist.

One thing about being a twin is that society expects you to be the same. On the 16 May 2019, I received the most saddening comment from an educator I looked up to. I broke down as I told my twin how I was weary of the comparison. He said: “The best is not out there, but being the best version of yourself.” These words helped me realise that embracing your uniqueness is the key to exhibiting true potential with ease and in turn allowing growth to your potential.

It does not matter who comes or goes, who stays or leaves. What matters is what they have done to your life to sharpen you up, for that is what permanently affects your life. Hold unto the values they have impacted your life with, for that is the part they left in you that continues to live on.

In helping matric students with their tertiary applications, I noticed a gap that the South African educational system needs to cover. The only thing that has changed through the years is the curriculum but the syllabus remains guided by the same policy. There are so many aspects that the educational syllabus must amend or remove to ensure that the outgoing matriculants are well-equipped for their career choices and succession. This will also ensure the educational system is flexibly updated to current skills demands. 

Our educational system is rather centric rather than accommodative and nurturing. This is why we have a high employment rate in South Africa. The people who have graduated have degrees but are yet not employed, and upcoming undergraduates are eyeing that very same degree. 

It’s not only the educational system that requires transformation but also societal norms. There is a concomitant societal norm to the redundant educational pattern that everyone will find a job under someone, someday after studying. Hence I discern a parental inclination, where both learners and children are informed about the wide-spread fields of careers they can focus on. This should include the advocacy of embracing talents such as sprinting, acting, singing and many more. Furthermore, I would like to see the subject “Life Orientation” orientate students to be able to navigate their lives and career choices in line with the workforce demand in South Africa and their interests. In this subject, the students must be taught, or at least exposed to, ways in which they can create jobs for themselves and others, in different areas, such as starting their own businesses/entrepreneurship. The mind of a child must not be about self-fulfilment but impacting beyond just the substantive impact in their lives. Global change will only be evident if our educational system allows the future generation to think sustainably about how the world is and how they can impact it together. 

In light of this, I would like to see South Africa, in respect of the educational sector, with an educational system that is relevantly transforming, innovative and accommodative. I would not mind initiating a forum or advocating for the above. I already have started with helping the little group I could gather, by informing them on the current status and how to navigate through possible career goals. I believe this can really go far

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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