Deborah Mutemwa (27)

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2018 Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans

Justice & Law

Deborah Mutemwa (27)

Director and co-founder, TumboScott

Deborah Mutemwa is the director and cofounder of an all-black, female- and youth-owned corporate and commercial legal consultancy which provides legal services to companies and individuals with a particular focus on small, medium and micro enterprises.

After completing her LLB at the University of Johannesburg and LLM (which she passed with distinction) in business and human rights she joined Webber Wentzel, where she was the chairperson of the leadership network corporate social investment committee. In this role, she led a team that spearheaded Webber Wentzel entering into an agreement with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) enterprise development programme, in terms of which candidate attorneys from the firm would give free legal training classes to entrepreneurs in Saica’s programme. She also has a diploma from the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute with a focus on the African political economy.

In 2017, she went on to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr where she worked in public law and litigation before joining the Constitutional Court, clerking under Justice Khampepe. She also worked with the Women’s Empowerment Network of South Africa (Wenosa) and handled its sponsorship portfolio, sourcing funding and spaces for Wenosa’s workshop for women in business as well as resources like sanitary pads for annual girls’ school visits by Wenosa.

After working at top legal commercial firms and then doing a life-changing stint at the Constitutional Court, Mutemwa developed a passion for business and human rights and how the two can work together to create a better life for ordinary South Africans. This is how she founded TumboScott. Through TumboScott she seeks to use her legal experience and expertise to reach big and small clients alike and level the playing field by giving small businesses access to high quality legal services to give them a competitive advantage in operating within the legal commercial landscape.

“My biggest struggle was finding a seat at tables of relevance, where my presence is welcomed, my intelligence seen as valid and my contributions valued,” she says. But she’s found sponsors and mentors who are willing and able to invite young women like her to tables of relevance. — Welcome Lishivha

Instagram: @iamdeborahmt