Lawyer Mpho Chitapi is the youngest Black female partner at Edward Nathan Sonnenberg’s Africa (ENSafrica), Africa’s largest law firm.
She specialises in technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) law, and has been involved in some of the country’s largest and most complex TMT transactions. She’s seen as a thought leader and a sought-after commentator in her field, and also publishes articles and technical blogs.
“Specialising in this niche area allows me to contribute to and build on this developing area of law. I often create vlogs on my social media pages about new technologies and how these can affect the man on the street,” she says.
“This is a fun and engaging way to get people to start thinking about how digitisation affects them. The information age is about the dissemination of information; this can be used to empower and uplift people and teach them about their rights.”
Chitapi grew up in Vosloorus and was the first member of her family to complete university, earning a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2013. In the second year of her studies she was recognised as an outstanding candidate by recruiters from ENSafrica, who offered her a full scholarship for the remainder of her degree, on condition that served her articles with the firm.
She has remained with the company, and this year she become a partner in ENSafrica, the youngest black female ever to achieve that.
Chitapi recently submitted her thesis on global data privacy practices for her master of laws degree. She’s highly interested in data privacy laws and the need for individuals and organisations alike to protect their personal information.
“Each day brings new advancements which force us to revisit how we apply trite law to novel and unprecedented situations. The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution makes this niche area of the law an even more exciting field to practice in, as the world we live in becomes more digitised,” she says.
Legislators find it hard to keep up with technological advancements, and people such as herself can pioneer creative solutions to ensure that advancements in technology ultimately conform to what is right, she says.
Coming from a disadvantaged background also makes her a champion of the empowerment of women, and Black women in particular. “If my journey can inspires someone to reach their full potential, that in itself would have been an achievement for me,” she says. —Lesley Stones
LinkedIn: Mpho Manyala-Chitapi