Buhle Lekokotla

Advocate, Victoria Mxenge Group

The first workplace that Buhle Lekokotla visited was the magistrate’s court in Ladysmith on a school outing when she was in Grade 6. It was there and then that she decided to enter the legal profession, eventually becoming an advocate. “Because my university studies were funded by Adams & Adams Attorneys, my first area of interest was intellectual property law,” she says. “Even when I worked there, I focused on intellectual property law and commercial litigation.

From the time that I started at the Bar, I did a lot of competition law, using my BCom in economics as a foundation.” As an advocate, she has also done a lot of work in administrative law, constitutional law, media and entertainment, telecommunications law, and general commercial litigation.

Three months before she started her pupillage to become an advocate, Lekokotla was involved in a serious car accident, and couldn’t use her hands to write or do anything for the first two months — and without a medical aid or a salary, her financial challenges were significant. Lekokotla completed her pupillage at the Johannesburg Association of Advocates in 2011, and has been practicing as a member of the Victoria Mxenge Group of Advocates since 2012.

She believes in continuous learning and has managed to increase her scope by working towards qualifications that are outside of the law, to learn more other ways of thinking that are out there. She is currently completing a BA in philosophy, politics and economics. “My advice to young South Africans is to stay in touch with the communities that they serve,” she says. “Law is a public qualification and that is why we need to be in touch with what is happening in our communities.

We must also serve our communities. “That is why I joined the Lebo M Foundation so that we can give pro bono legal advice to disadvantaged communities throughout the country, and create awareness among people of their basic rights and at least have an idea what avenues to use if they have a problem. We are partnering with various organisations and government departments throughout the country to make this happen.”

Lekokotla and friends from high school go back to their alma mater every year to motivate and encourage the learners, as they know the difficulties of attending school in a township. “We also organise a yearly prizegiving for the top achievers in every grade, and host a career day to show them what they can do after school,” she says. “We also run a boot camp to teach Grade 12s what to expect at university.” As a former professional soccer player, when she is not practising law, Lekokotla coaches women’s soccer teams of all ages.

— Kerry Haggard

LinkedIn: ilnkedin.com/in/ buhle-lekokotla-43814434