Manoko Mashangoane is a brilliant South African lady who has made history by becoming one of the youngest admitted attorneys in the country. She achieved this feat at the age of 23, fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.
How she did it
To become an admitted attorney in South Africa, one must first complete a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, then serve articles with a registered law firm and then pass the board exams. Manoko completed her LLB degree at the University of Limpopo in 2022, graduating with distinction. She then enrolled for a Master of Laws (LLM) degree at the University of Pretoria, where she faced some challenges as a postgraduate student from a different institution.
She had to familiarise herself with the new academic environment, the online systems, the libraries and the databases. She also struggled to make friends and felt anxious and out of place on campus. However, she did not let these difficulties deter her from pursuing her goals. She consulted lecturers, information specialists and former classmates for guidance and support. She also worked hard and completed her LLM degree with distinction in 2023.
During her LLM studies, she also served her articles with MacRobert Attorneys, one of the leading law firms in South Africa. She passed her board exams in February 2023 and was officially admitted as an attorney by the High Court of South Africa.
How she celebrated
Manoko took to social media to share her proud moments and inspire others with her story. She posted a beautiful picture of herself in her graduation gown and wrote: “An Admitted Attorney at 23?! You did it girl!” She also thanked God, her family, her friends and her mentors for their support and encouragement.
She also shared some highlights from her academic journey, including both the highs and lows, on LinkedIn. She wrote: “As a postgraduate who comes from a completely different institution, I had to start with familiarising myself with how they do things at UP. From their website, the ClickUP, Online databases, Libraries etc. That delayed my studies because everytime we were given a task, I had to start by consulting lecturers, information specialists and some of my former classmates from UL because I didn’t have any friends at UP… I struggled to make friends, I was always anxious everytime I had to go to campus because I would feel that people could tell that I’m not from UP and I’m different and I don’t even belong there.”
She continued: “But God is good all the time! He gave me strength to overcome all those challenges. He gave me wisdom to understand everything that I was taught. He gave me favour before my lecturers and supervisors. He gave me courage to make friends and network with people. He gave me grace to finish my LLM degree with distinction. He gave me an opportunity to serve my articles at one of the best law firms in SA. He gave me success in passing my board exams. He gave me joy in being admitted as an Attorney.”
How she inspired others
Manoko’s success story has inspired many people who have congratulated her and praised her for her achievements. Her posts have received thousands of likes, comments and shares on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Some of the comments include:
“Wow! Congratulations Manoko! You are such an inspiration to many young people out there. Well done!”
“This is amazing! You are a star Manoko! You have made us proud as women and as South Africans. Keep shining!”
Manoko has also received recognition from various media outlets such as Wakanda African News, SAFACTS and Bing, who have featured her story on their platforms.
Thandi Princess Ngxongo is another remarkable woman who has overcome many challenges and achieved great success in the field of chemical engineering. She was born and raised on a farm along the Mooi River in South Africa, where she helped her parents with farming activities and household chores. She developed an interest in cars and the oil industry from an early age, as she played with worn and ragged vehicles that were filled with petrol and oil smell.
She pursued her passion for science and engineering by enrolling at the Durban University of Technology, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Chemical Engineering. She then gained practical experience by working with Engen SA, one of the leading players in the oil industry. She did not stop there, as she continued to empower herself with further education, earning an MBA and other certificates.
She also embarked on a PhD journey, which she completed in 2023, becoming one of the few women to hold a doctorate degree in chemical engineering in South Africa. Her research focused on developing sustainable and environmentally friendly biofuels from agricultural waste. She said that her motivation was to contribute to the body of knowledge and to solve some of the energy challenges facing her country and the continent.
She is also a successful entrepreneur, as she owns and manages a BP Moore Road Service Station in Durban, which employs 25 people. She is believed to be one of the few women fuel dealers in KwaZulu-Natal. She said that she enjoys running her own business, as it gives her an opportunity to interact with customers and to mentor young people who aspire to follow her footsteps.
She has received several awards and recognitions for her outstanding achievements, such as the Women in Engineering Award from the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers, and the Young Achiever Award from the African Women Leadership Organisation. She has also been featured in various media platforms.