Challenging the status quo to create new possibilities for a better future does not start with a long song and dance. Instead, it starts with having the courage to entertain another viewpoint.




Stellenbosch University

Rukshana Parker, 30, is a law lecturer at Stellenbosch University. She creates a positive and engaging learning environment that inspires critical thinking through open discussion and collaboration and by breaking down complex legal information into manageable parts with practical examples. This encourages independent thinking and challenges students to question and analyse their learning. Her student evaluations reflect that she always goes the extra mile to help them. She provides students with career advice and holds mock interviews to prepare them for the actual interview. Rukshana is currently doing her PhD at the University of Cape Town, having completed her Bachelor of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws there. She was awarded the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Scholarship to complete her first two degrees at UCT. Rukshana has also done extensive research on organised crime in South Africa, focusing on drugs, gangs and assassinations. Because of her work, she was elected as the secretariat for an international drug commission headed by former heads of state. Her research has been the basis of several podcasts, news articles, and radio interviews and was presented at the 14th United Nations Crime Congress. She also worked on projects to help people in gang-ridden areas on the Cape Flats to build resilience in their communities. In her spare time, she teaches at Brandvlei Correctional Centre, hoping that imparting essential skills to inmates will reduce recidivism rates. Rukshana wants a future South Africa to be a place where all citizens feel valued, safe, and have equal opportunities to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstance.

  • Bachelor of Social Sciences (public policy & administration and law), University of Cape Town.
  • Bachelor of Laws, UCT
  • Master of Laws, UCT
  • PhD at UCT current

  • I have been featured on the Dean’s List for the duration of my studies at UCT 
  • I was awarded the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Scholarship to complete my first two degrees at UCT. It is one of UCTs most prestigious full-cost scholarships focusing unambiguously on excellence and exceptional scholarship.   
  • I am the youngest law lecturer in the private law department at Stellenbosch University.

During my early school years, I had the good fortune to meet a teacher who changed everything for me. She refused to give up on me and used creative teaching methods to help me understand topics that I previously struggled with. Her technique kept me involved and made learning fun.


With her unwavering support, I soon became her top student. The tools she equipped me with, including perseverance, hard work and a positive attitude, have become the foundation of who I am today.

I would tell my younger self to embrace mistakes and failures as opportunities for growth and learning rather than a source of shame or self-doubt. When I was younger, I saw mistakes as a reflection of inadequacies and shortcomings, but I have come to realise that it’s an inevitable part of the learning process. 

I would also tell my younger self to trust the journey and not be too focused on the destination. Life is full of twists and turns, and the path to success is rarely a straight line. I would remind my younger self to enjoy the process and stay open to new experiences, even if they don’t fit into a predetermined plan or timeline.

I would like to see South Africa become a prosperous, equitable and more stable nation. This would require sustainable efforts to reduce inequality and poverty, create job opportunities, improve education and healthcare systems, and address the underlying socio-economic and political issues that continue to plague the country. I would like to see the government prioritise investment in renewable energy, infrastructure, and technology to support sustainable economic growth. Ultimately, a future South Africa should be a place where all citizens feel valued, safe, and have equal opportunities to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstance.

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