Lilian Chenwi

Since arriving in South Africa over a decade ago Dr Lilian Chenwi has held firm to her conviction that “even if your contribution is small, it’s still relevant”. Chenwi’s contribution has been anything but small. She has blazed a trail through the field of human rights, effecting change at both regional African and United Nations levels as a member of the Steering Committee for the international NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Her fervour for human rights has made her life a philanthropic one. She has served as acting co-ordinator of the Gender Unit at the University of Pretoria (UP), was an LLM tutor and researcher at the Centre for Human Rights at UP, receiving the centre’s Vera Chirwa Human Rights award, and has been a senior researcher at the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape, where she was also head of the Socio-Economic Rights Project. She is vice-chairperson of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children. Born and raised in Cameroon, 35-year-old Chenwi, now an associate professor of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand Law School, has a strong passion for teaching. “I feel that I am in a position to impart knowledge that will be beneficial to young legal minds,” she says. In doing so she is creating a legacy of lasting change. She holds an LLB degree from the University of Buea, Cameroon, a Maîtrise in Law from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, and both an LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation and an LLD from the University of Pretoria. She is editor of the Economic and Social Rights Review and is on the editorial board of the Housing and ESC Rights Law Quarterly. — Billy Rivers