“You’ve grown more from your failures than you have from your successes. Both are but distractions. Neither should deter you from finding and relentlessly pursuing your purpose.”



Pan African Bar Association of South Africa (PABASA)

Most of Sanan Mirzoyev’s career has focused on public and constitutional law and human rights. He served as a law clerk to Justices van der Westhuizen, Bosielo and Mbha at the constitutional court in 2016. While undertaking articles at a law firm in Pretoria, Sanan was awarded a Chevening Scholarship to pursue an LLM at the University of Cambridge. There, he was one of six Cambridge graduates to receive a Pegasus Scholarship, allowing him to work with barristers in London on high-profile cases. When he returned to South Africa, Sanan was appointed as a law researcher to Justice Mokgoro during the state inquiry into the National Prosecuting Authority. His efforts landed him a forum with the president. He was then given the responsibility of leading the UK’s regional anti-corruption programme in Southern Africa. He has presented sessions at United Nations events to law enforcement across the region. He also represented the UK government at the UN General Assembly Special Sessions. Sanan is passionate about playing his part to bring about positive change in South Africa. In 2022, Sanan was admitted as an advocate. He has since advised on policy relating to financial crimes on behalf of civil society in South Africa and abroad. Sanan is completing his pupilage at the Pan African Bar Association of South Africa.

  • LLB,University of Pretoria, 2015
  • LLM, University of Cambridge, 2018

  • Chief Justice of the Constitutional Tribunal at the University of Pretoria
  • Clerk at the Constitutional Court
  • Chevening and Cambridge Trust Scholar (LLM studies)
  • Pegasus Scholar (working with barristers at the Inner Temple in London)

Growing up, my mother always inspired a great sense of wonder about the world in us. She was a phenomenal storyteller and wanted us to experience it all. Sadly, we lost her to cancer when I was just 12 years old. During the late and most difficult stages of the disease, she would always tell me to grow up to be strong. That always stayed with me.

Take risks and do not be afraid of putting yourself out there. If you don’t ask then the answer will always be “no”. Get comfortable with “no”, because you’ll get a whole lot of it. But there’s also a “yes” somewhere in between all the “no”. And it only takes one “yes” to change your life forever.

I would like to see South Africa on a sustainable path. It is difficult to say what can be done in just five years but perhaps if we make demonstrable progress in any of the areas below, I’d be encouraged.

Where criminality is not treated with impunity. Where corruption is the exception rather than the norm. Where gratuitous displays of materialism, mindless consumption, greed, and self-interest are no longer celebrated while so many of our people are helplessly trapped in a cycle of poverty.

That we have principled leadership that is not influenced or motivated by self-interest or self-interested groups. That our leaders think and act in the best interests of our people and work hard to ensure that we deliver basic services to the most vulnerable groups. That we find new and innovative policies to help address the burgeoning challenges of inequality and unemployment.

That we use technology to empower our citizens. That people have access to cheap and affordable technology as well as cheap and affordable data. That concerted efforts are made to teach our people about the power of technology. In the history of humanity, there has never been a greater equaliser for education than with the invention of the internet.

That our people embrace the strength of our diversity. That we find unity as a people. That all South Africans begin to know what it actually means to be South African.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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