You'll most likely recognise his voice from SAfm, but when Stellenbosch University (SU) alumnus and law graduate, Songezo Mabece, is not dissecting social justice, economic and political issues of the day on The View Point radio show, he's serving as Legal Counsel and Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the Competition Commission of South Africa.
On Friday, 18 October, Songezo will be the guest speaker at the Careers Café hosted by the Alumni Relations division in the Arts building on the corner of Merriman and Ryneveld Street between 13:00 and 14:00. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student and wish to attend the event, please visit http://bit.ly/CareersCafeSMabece to reserve your seat or contact Marvin Koopman at firstname.lastname@example.org before Wednesday, 16 October.
For Songezo, education has always played a key role in his life. He grew up in Sada in the former Ciskei (now Eastern Cape) and attended Selborne Primary School and Selborne College before heading to Fort Hare University to complete an LLB Law degree. In 2017, he completed an LLM in International Trade Law at the Law Faculty at SU, this after completing a short course in Competition Law at the University of Cape Town and the General Manager Programme Certificate in the General Management Program at the IEDC-Bled School of Management in Slovenia a year earlier.
It is this unrelenting pursuit of knowledge that Songezo hopes to awaken in the hearts of students at SU as he shares his life and career journey with them during his talk this Friday.
“When it came to going to university, I had no choice. Mama and Tata were teachers, and Sisi and Bhuti studied teaching and, too, became teachers themselves. Education runs deep in the family. Not going to school and university would have made me the black sheep, as everybody at home had tertiary qualifications," he explains.
“The first year of university was a revelation for me in many ways and that was the beginning of my own journey to self-discovery," says Songezo, adding that it is something he will delve into in more detail during his talk.
His family history and his quest to encourage others to seek out knowledge is also what inspires him to anonymously contribute to the school and university fees of many learners and students in South Africa.
As a learner, Songezo was an avid debater, runner and rugby player, activities he continued once he arrived at Fort Hare. Later the sportsperson in him would give way to debating at Fort Hare and, later, at SU too.
“All of this was in the name of keeping active and meeting people. Debating is what I did the longest and this took me across the length and breadth of the country, where I was fortunate to meet many people who I am still friends with today. At some point, I was a national champion after being selected as the Best Speaker at the Southern African National Universities Debating Championships held at Rhodes University in 2007."
Since graduating from SU, Songezo has worked at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Bagraims Attorneys in Cape Town, Tralac in Stellenbosch, the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, the World Bank in Washington DC in the United States and the Competition Commission of South Africa. But, he admits, in spite of all the successes, it has also been “a challenging journey" that has taught him a lot about the working world.
“While there have been challenges, nothing in my career has come as a surprise to me. Both from a desire perspective and personality front, I was always going to be a lawyer and broadcaster, but I just did not think the challenges would be as much as they have been in getting to where I am now."
The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want.
For more information about the Careers Café, follow the Alumni Relations Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stellenboschalumni and the SU Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stellenboschuniversity. To attend, RSVP at http://bit.ly/CareersCafeSMabece or contact Marvin Koopman at email@example.com before Wednesday, 16 October.
Two students can each win a seat at the dinner table with Songezo on the evening of the Careers Café by writing a motivation about why they believe they are the best candidate to benefit from a personal conversation with Songezo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Stellenbosch University alumnus, lawyer and SAfm radio host, Songezo Mabece, will be the next Careers Café speaker on 18 October.