Rorisang Mzozoyana

Senior attorney, Norton Rose Fulbright

Rorisang Mzozoyana noticed that the wealthiest person in her home town of Butterworth when she was growing up was a criminal lawyer, and set her sights on the profession so that she could escape her surroundings. It was only when she began her studies at Rhodes University that she realised that there were many other nuances to the law that she found more interesting, and it was the pursuit of understanding these that took her from Butterworth all the way to New York.

Mzozoyana is now a specialist property finance lawyer with more than 10 years’ legal experience. She is a senior attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright, a global law firm with 58 offices across the world. Her practice in South Africa straddles Cape Town and Johannesburg, and she was previously an international associate at a prestigious law firm in New York where she advised a number of Wall Street clients including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

She has advised a number of high profile clients in the property space across South Africa, and has facilitated complex cross-jurisdictional finance transactions that involved various corporate entities in the US, UK, Australia, Austria and Namibia to name a few. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Mzozoyana has an interest in academia, and has lectured real estate law at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has also published a number of articles relating to real estate matters. Mzozoyana has a passion for giving back to the community. She has advised domestic violence victims at the Randburg Magistrate Court on a pro bono basis and has spent weekends volunteering at the Constitutional Court, running workshops to teach schoolchildren about South Africa’s legal history and the Constitution.

Mzozoyana holds a BA LLB from Rhodes University and a LLM from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently pursuing a MSc in Property Studies at the University of Cape Town. She is a member of the Women’s Property Network South Africa and is a fellow of the prestigious South African Visiting Lawyer Programme that is facilitated by the Cyrus R Vance Centre for International Justice, an association of the Bar of the City of New York. “The law is a rewarding career that will teach you how to think and how to analyse and synthesise information,” says Mzozoyana.

“This is an invaluable skill that can easily be transposed into other careers or other areas of one’s life. That is why lawyers can go into business or politics so easily; their skills are transferable. It is not for the faint-hearted, and requires a lot of hard work and diligence. “Throughout my career I have had to work harder to just prove my competence and have had to create my own opportunities, whereas some of my colleagues have had opportunities created for them,” she adds. “That has been a blessing in disguise though, as it has made me more self-reliant and resilient.”

— Kerry Haggard