Speaker Biographies 2012

Nurina Ally is a graduate of law from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has worked in the public law field since. Her areas of interest include constitutional and administrative law and public interest litigation.

Adv Heidi Barnes has been a member of the Johannesburg Bar since 2001. She has a BA from the University of Natal, Durban and an LLB and  Masters in Public Law from the University of Cape Town. Adv Barnes practices in the areas of constitutional, administrative and labour law, with a particular focus on human rights. Adv Barnes has litigated a number of the leading socio-economic rights cases in the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal. These include: Occupiers of 51 Olivia Road, Berea Township and 197 Main Street, Johannesburg v City of Johannesburg and Others 2008 (3) SA 208 (CC); Residents of Joe Slovo Community, Western Cape v Thubelisha Homes and Others 2010 (3) SA 454 (CC); Abahlali BaseMjondolo Movement SA and Another v Premier of Kwa-Zulu Natal  and Others 2010 (2) BCLR 99 (CC); City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality v Blue Moonlight Properties 39 (Pty) Ltd and Another 2011 (4) SA 337 (SCA).

Morgan Courtenay is an attorney at the Centre for Child Law. Before re-joining the Centre in 2012 he was the project lead for the Basic Services, Housing and Eviction Programme at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies. Morgan now focuses on children’s right strategic litigation at the Centre with a particular interest in child justice and mental health. He holds an LL.B and an LL.M Criminal Law (with distinction) from the University of Pretoria.

Ian Defeo is a Master’s Candidate in Development Economics at the New School University in New York City.  He has an interest in how culture and the utilisation of public space is affected by economics.  Ian has a degree in journalism and has worked as a freelance journalist in the past.  He has also spent the last two years working as a Compliance Analyst at the Blackstone Group in New York City.

Irene de Vos obtained an LLB and LLM at the University of Pretoria.  Her LLM focuses on post-colonial jurisprudence and the potential for transformative constitutionalism within this context.  Thereafter she clerked at the Constitutional Court for Chief Justice Pius Langa.  She was a legal consultant at a public sector law firm for a year before joining the Johannesburg Bar in 2010.  This year she was privileged to have worked on two Constitutional Court cases concerning housing rights.

Lisa Draga is an attorney at the Equal Education Law Centre. She obtained her LLB degree from UWC, Summa Cum Laude in 2006 and an LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA in 2007. In early 2010 she concluded her training as a candidate attorney at the Legal Resources Centre, Cape Town where she engaged in various human rights focus areas including gender rights, refugee law and issues impacting upon the right to a basic education. From July 2010 until December 2011 she served as a Constitutional Court Clerk to Justice Zakeria Yacoob.

Carina du Toit has been in the employ of the Centre for Child Law since 2005. She has a BA (Law) LLB from the University of Stellenbosch and an LLM from the University of Pretoria. She is an admitted attorney with right of appearance in the High Court of South Africa. She has also published extensively in the area of Child Law. Carina’s main duties at the Centre entail the management of strategic public interest litigation in the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court.

Shaun Franklin is a legal researcher, advising the Equal Education Law Centre on issues of International Constitutional Jurisprudence. Prior to arriving in Cape Town in 2011, Shaun practiced law in the United States for five years in Seattle, Washington and Cleveland, Ohio, where he focused on criminal law and commercial litigation. Shaun received his law degrees Cum Laude from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio in 2006. While in law school, Shaun served as a judicial extern to the Honourable John M. Manos of the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio as a law clerk at the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office. Shaun graduated with a B.A. Cum Laude from Boston University in 2002, where he studied political science and economics.

Nicole Fritz is the Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. She obtained her LL.B. (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand and thereafter completed an LL.M. in International Legal Studies at NYU Law School as a Hauser Global Scholar. She has taught constitutional and international law at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Law School and human rights law at Fordham Law School in New York. She has also worked at Fordham’s Crowley Program in International Human Rights. She served as law clerk to Justice Richard Goldstone at South Africa’s Constitutional Court. Currently, she is an extraordinary lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, on the advisory board of the African Human Rights Law Reports and the editorial board of the Constitutional Court Review.

Willene Holness is an attorney at the Legal Resources Centre in Durban. She holds a BA, LLB (Rhodes) and LLM (UKZN). Before joining the LRC, she was a research clerk for justices Lex Mpati and Kate O’Regan at the Constitutional Court in 2007 and a clerk at the District Court of New Jersey, in Camden, USA for two months in 2008.  Her practice focuses on gender law, disability law, children’s rights and housing law.

Meetali Jain is a human rights/constitutional lawyer who formerly taught in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law in Washington DC.  She worked in the areas of immigration, post-9/11 government policy, workers rights, housing, health and education.  She now directs the Constitutional Literacy and Service Initiative (CLASI), which trains law students from UCT, UWC, and soon from Stellenbosch, to facilitate constitutional literacy classes and workshops in high schools and various communities.  She will also be teaching a new seminar on Public Interest Lawyering at UCT Law in 2012.  Meetali previously clerked for Justice Yvonne Mokgoro on the Constitutional Court, and for a federal court in the United States.  Her research interests include the transformation of legal education in South Africa, pedagogies of clinical legal education, critiques of human rights discourses and legal practice, and comparative constitutional law.

Themba Koketi is a Leader of the community that was resident at  7 Saratoga Avenue in the Blue Moonlight matter.

Folashade Kornegay is currently enrolled as a Masters candidate at The New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs with a dual concentration in Media and Culture and Development. Her combined passion for the arts and media are expressed through her published works of poetry and prose, as well as her growing experience in documentary film. Folashade’s love for the African diaspora has been the driving force behind her academic career, and most recently, she has been accepted into the National Association for Ethnic Studies. In April, she presented research at the annual NAES conference titled, Chinese Fufu: The Socioeconomic Effects Of Chinese Presence in Africa in New Orleans, Louisiana. As an in-house blogger and digital researcher for Progressive Pupil, Folashade lent her talents to the production of their first feature release, Black and Cuba, and is a regular contributor to their blog, where she writes about Diasporic issues through a contemporary lens. While in South Africa, her work with Open Democracy Advice Centre has shifted her focus to the issues surrounding access to information and has been able to lend her talents to organizing and researching for ODAC’s ongoing projects. You can find some of her work at  www.progressivepupil.wordpress.com or her personal website, www.thesunshinewritings.com

Andrew Levy (Umuzi) is a native of Jo’burg. Since starting his career at Investec Private Bank he has organised a leadership conference for 300 top young African leaders, and opened a business lounge for British Airways. He has a passion for broadcasting which includes a period presenting sports for 702 Talk Radio. Andrew is passionate about developing South Africa through entrepreneurial endeavours. He is currently doing a correspondence course at Harvard’s Kennedy School on Leadership, Organising and Change. He graduated from the University of Cape Town with a bachelor’s in economics, politics, and philosophy as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Enterprise Management.

S’khumbuzo Maphumulo is a practising attorney of the High Court of South Africa, currently working for SECTION27. He obtained firs a Bachelor of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand and later obtained his LLB degree at Wits in the year 2000. He joined the Aids Law Project in 2008 after leaving the Competition Commission. He has been an attorney of record in a number of groundbreaking cases involving SECTION27 either as an applicant or legal representatives, including SA Security Forces Union (SASFU) et al v Surgeon General: SA National Defence Force (SANDF) et al.  S’khumbuzo also obtained his LLM at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC, USA in International Legal Studies in 2012.

Gilbert Marcus is a senior advocate at the Johannesburg Bar and a specialist in human rights and constitutional law. He is one of the country’s most respected advocates and has represented clients in some of the country’s seminal political trials under apartheid, as well as in path-breaking Constitutional Court cases.

Zwelikude Mkhize is a Liaison Officer with the Khulumani Support Group, an NGO set up by survivors and families of victims of the political conflict of South Africa’s apartheid past. Zwelikude, a survivor of gross human rights violations and a political detainee, has been with Khulumani since its inception. He joined Khulumani in 1995 as a field worker and has also held the position of documentation officer within the organisation.

Terence Modiba (Activators) is a man of action. He believes in instilling hope in all young people, helping them to discover who they are, their gift and purpose in life and motivating them to dream big and achieve their goals. Someone did that for him and it is now his mission in life to do that for thousands of other young people across the country. Terence is the second of six children and grew up in Lenyenye township in Limpopo. He volunteered at loveLife and moved up the ranks from mpinthsi to groundBREAKER and then regional training leader. Terence went on to work for the Society for Family Health as a Skills Development Facilitator. In 2012 he joined the Activate! Leadership for Public Innovation programme as the Team leader for the Gauteng node. In 2008, Terence was featured as one of the Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young People to take to lunch.

Lukas Muntingh is Project Coordinator of the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI), a project of the Community Law Centre (University of the Western Cape). He holds an M.Soc  (Sociology) from Stellenbosch University. He has been involved in criminal justice reform since 1992 and has worked in Southern and East Africa, and Central Asia on a range of criminal justice reform issues. His current focus is on pre-trial detention and the prevention and combating of torture.

Karabo Ngidi is an attorney with the Centre for Child and an extra-ordinary lecturer inthe Department of Private Law of the University of Pretoria. She holds an LLB and LLM degree, as well as a Certificate in Advanced Labour Law from the University of Pretoria. She started her legal career as a candidate attorney at the University of Pretoria Law Clinic, in 2005, where she remained after her admission as an attorney. She joined the Centre for Child Law in 2007. Karabo lectures Child Law (KID 410) and the Child Law LLM at the University of Pretoria. She has also published in the area of Child Law.

Thokelo Nhlapo is a Journalism Honours Student at Wits University and writes for the Vuvuzela. He is a member of the Workers Solidarity Committee and the Student Representative Council at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Zikho Pali is the Secretary General of the Students Representative Council at the University of the Witwatersrand. She was also former Deputy Secretary of the Law Students Council at Wits. She is a student activist, and has been actively involved in the Workers Solidarity Committee.

Jon Parsonage is the director of the Constitutional Court Trust Eduation Project, a project providing basic constitutional education to high school learners. Prior to this, he was a clerk at the Constitutional Court. He has an LLB, a BA and a SocSci(Hons), all from UCT.

Nikki Stein is an attorney at SECTION27. She obtained a BA (Law and Psychology) and an LLB from Wits University. She then went on to clerk for Justice Nkabinde at the Constitutional Court. Nikki completed her articles at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys. In 2008/09 she obtained an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Virginia in the United States. She then returned to Bowman Gilfillan in June 2009. Nikki joined SECTION27 in September 2011 and is currently working on the right to basic education.

Trueman Twala is a Leader of the community that was resident at  7 Saratoga Avenue in the “Blue Moonlight” matter.

Adv Jacob van Garderen is the National Director of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and member of the Johannesburg Bar. Prior to his appointment as director in 2008 he headed LHR’s Strategic Litigation Unit and Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme.

Stuart Wilson is co-founder and Director of Litigation at the Socio-economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI). He is also a practicing advocate and a Member of the Johannesburg Bar. Prior to joining the Bar and SERI, Stuart ran the Litigation Unit at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS). At CALS and SERI, Stuart has been responsible for litigating many of the leading socio-economic rights cases to come before the courts in recent years. Stuart appears regularly as counsel at all levels of the courts system. His practice encompasses constitutional law, administrative law, defamation, property law, labour law and criminal defence work. He has particular expertise in land and housing law. Stuart is also a part-time lecturer and Visiting Senior Fellow at Wits Law School, where he teaches undergraduate courses in Constitutional Law and Property Law. He writes and publishes on constitutional law, property law and the intersection between law and society. His present research interests are in assessing the social and legal impact of public interest litigation, especially where driven by the organised urban poor.

Eric Worby (PhD McGill 1992) is Director of the Humanities Graduate Centre and Professor of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was previously Head of the School of Social Sciences from 2006-2010. He has chaired the Senate Working Group on Protest at Wits since its formation in October, 2009.