For some people it takes many years to decide which career path to follow, but this has not been the case for the youthful Tebogo Innocentia Munyai.
Tebogo was born in Moletjie in Polokwane and was only ten when she decided that she would like to become a lawyer and nothing since then has changed her mind. Today she is a qualified lawyer – Attorney Tebogo Innocentia Munyai.
“I have always wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age. I don’t remember who inspired this because at that time no one in my family was a lawyer or a graduate for that matter.”
She read many books along the road to graduating with an LLB degree in 2015 from the University of Venda.
Just after graduating, she attended the School for Legal Practice for six months in Polokwane and went on to work for the Financial and Advisory Intermediary Services Ombudsman.
However, she knew all along that she wanted to become more active and visible as a lawyer, so she went on to serve her articles with Vhutshilo Nange Attorneys and was admitted as an attorney in 2018.
Soon after her admission as an attorney she opened a law firm in Thohayandou, where she now lives, in partnership with Fumanekile Makamu, where they are practising under the name Makamu & Munyai Inc.
“The biggest challenge about opening a law practise was uncertainty of what the future holds and of course going from having a salary to no salary at all until such time as the firm can sustain itself.”
“We are attorneys, notaries and conveyancers. We specialise in the transferring of properties and change of ownership, opening of sectional titles, notarial deeds, divorce, estates and personal injury cases.”
“I had become an attorney and opened up an office. I was so overjoyed with those achievements. They were real milestones. There was no waiting, so I felt I needed to add more qualifications. I enrolled for a master’s degree in property law with the University of Venda in 2018.”
Tebogo wanted to excel in the practice of law. So she had a stint as a law researcher at the Supreme Court of Appeal, Bloemfontein. Soon she passed her conveyancing examinations and was officially admitted as a conveyancer of the High Court of South Africa.
“In order to make the dream of being a lawyer become a reality, I put my eyes on the ball and focused on it regardless of how negative people were towards the idea and also the ‘scare’ around studying law because you are constantly told it’s one of the hardest professions to get into especially when you are a woman. Of course one of the key challenges was having to prove myself as a woman – that I can also do it as much as a man can.”
Her work adds great value to the society because she makes sure that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done.
“We ensure that the society’s interests are protected at all times.”
“I am not a creature of habit so I cannot say I have actualised myself in life. I am still open to new opportunities and challenges. However I am so proud that so far I am the only ThohoyaLandou-based conveyancer.”
Tebogo was raised by her grandparents in an extended family, of uncles, aunts and cousins, in a household with one breadwinner.
“We either shared one meal or went to bed on an empty stomach.”
She encourages the youth to identify their dreams and pursue them.
“The mind is the most powerful weapon you can use against poverty. So make sure you feed it with positive thoughts. No matter how much confidence the world has in you, at the end of the day it is you who has a duty to execute. Your dreams are valid.”
Tell us: How does Innocentia’s story make you feel?