Loyiso Makapela

Lecturer, faculty of law – University of the Free State

At just 27, Advocate Loyiso Makapela is the youngest lecturer at the University of the Free State’s faculty of law. She also has two master’s degrees under her belt — one in international economic law, and the other in law, development and governance (the latter she acquired with merit at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies).

Makapela was awarded the Desmond Tutu Doctoral Scholarship by the National Research Foundation and will commence her PhD at both Stellenbosch University and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in June.

As a lecturer, Makapela is passionate about mentoring her students beyond them completing their modules. “I firmly believe that that is where they need it the most,” she says. “When they are still in varsity, they have a plethora of options in front of them: they have councillors, residence heads, student leaders, lecturers et cetera at their disposal for mentorship and advice. But when they complete their studies, they are completely alone: I know I was.”

Having noticed that many of her students are not ready to enter the job market, Makapela encourages them to pursue postgraduate studies, which are beneficial for their employment prospects. “I encourage them to become student assistants or research assistants. On a personal level, I also really think we could do with more young lecturers at higher education institutions, and where I see that potential in one of my students I like to encourage it,” she says.

As much as she’s ambitious, driven and self-motivated, Makapela also loves watching YouTube makeup tutorials and having fun with fashion. When she noticed that most internet offerings didn’t really cater for corporate fashion, she decided to initiate Young Women of Power, a soon-to-be-launched lifestyle website aimed at young, ambitious South African women. With the website, she hopes to build an online community of like-minded young women who can have a national conference annually.

One of Makapela’s other goals is to pioneer a summer school program on business, human rights and corporate social responsibility at the University of Free State. “I just want to be the best version of myself, to have each student that enters my lecture hall leave believing that they can do anything they put their mind to,” she says. — Fatima Asmal


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