The Centre for Applied Legal Studies has a new deputy director – a lawyer with a passion for practising law for a greater cause.
Busisiwe Kamolane-Kgadima is a practising attorney, researcher, advocacy specialist and activist. She joined the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in 2019.
She said she was honoured to be appointed deputy director of the oldest and one of the most reputable public interest law organisations in South Africa.
Kamolane-Kgadima said she was proud to be part of an organisation that excelled at representing clients in crucial and landmark cases.
She said the centre produced quality research reports and worked closely with social movements, communities and grass-roots organisations to advance their causes in the achievement of social justice.
Kamolane-Kgadima, 30, was born in Pietermaritzburg and raised in the Vaal.
“My siblings and I grew up in the township of Sebokeng until about 2004 when my parents managed to move us all to Vanderbijlpark. This is where my parents still live and where our family home continues to be.”
She attended a public school in Vanderbijlpark, Suiderlig High School, where she was a leader in her penultimate and final year. Obtaining several distinctions and a Bachelor’s degree pass, she went on to study an LLB degree at the University of Pretoria.
“During my time at the University of Pretoria, I was selected to lead my university residence on the house committee. On campus, I was selected as a mentor for students identified by the university as coming from disadvantaged backgrounds or being the first generation in their families to go to university.”
In her final year of study, she was elected as a judge for the Constitutional Tribunal of the University of Pretoria, the judicial arm of student governance at the university.
In speaking about her passion for practising law for a greater cause, Kamolane-Kgadima said it started when she first learnt to practise law pro bono (free of charge) at the University of Pretoria’s Law Clinic, and enforcing legal compliance on housing standards in South Africa at the National Home Builders Registration Council.
She moved on to listening to, researching and analysing legal cases in South Africa’s apex court as a law clerk to the then-chief justice.
“My professional journey has been enriched by countless experiences that have deepened my commitment to social justice and human rights.
“After almost five years with the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, I have had the privilege to contribute to its growth and exceptional work. Most notably, I had been tasked with inaugurating and leading a Centre for Applied Legal Studies research and advocacy unit.”
Kamolane-Kgadima explained that that involved creating a sustainable theory of change for research and advocacy at the organisation and producing quality impact research reports, elevating the centre’s advocacy footprint.
This will involve integrating the unit’s work within the entire organisation by capacitating the Centre for Applied Legal Studies programmes as well as expanding its expertise and research outputs, co-ordinating research and advocacy throughout the organisation and strategising and amplifying synergies between programmes.
“All this is done while ensuring close partnerships with other public interest law organisations, social movements, individual clients and communities.
“In addition to this phenomenal work, I am also a practising attorney. I write and publish academic articles and seasonally teach as well.”
She obtained her LLM degree at Wits University and is a 2023 fellow of the American Express Leadership Academy.
“My career journey has involved leading not only my immediate team but also leading with multiple partners and stakeholders, sometimes even those with competing interests.
“My strong leadership, strategic thinking, organisational and project management skills have propelled me forward to achieve success even in difficult circumstances.”
Kamolane-Kgadima said the skills, coupled with her passion, creativity, hard work, diligence and tenacity, would prove to be crucial in her new role as deputy director.
“I look forward to working together with the team of dynamic and brilliant Centre for Applied Legal Studies staff to advance the work of this organisation and its impact in South Africa and across the globe.”
When not practising law, she loves travelling – either solo or with friends and family – and exploring new places and experiences.
“I love the outdoors, sunshine and enjoy spending quality time with those closest to me.”