Not many people can say that they have addressed a United Nations conference on the prevention of human rights abuses, spoken on queer- and gender-based violence at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights or coached a national moot court team representing South Africa, and won. Lawyer Keketso Gift Kgomosotho can lay claim to these achievements and more — although some of his biggest lessons have come from his failures, rather than successes.
“I had been working for a number of years to get into a specific programme, and I was rejected. It dealt a devastating blow to my plans, many of which were dependent on this. I can look back on it now with some distance and perspective, and realise that failure, loss and travail are ordinary parts of the imperfect human existence. You can be good, and still fail. I’ve started seeing mine and others’ failure as less of a tragedy, and more like building a muscle, for future battle.”
As an international law scholar and through his work with moot court projects, he wants to hear more African voices in the drive to eradicate conditions of underdevelopment. He hopes to propose solutions to problems facing South Africa, thereby deepening an appreciation of the Constitution’s values and creating a more tolerant, and responsible citizenry.
With so much on his mind and so much work to be done, does he ever have time to focus on himself? “I’ve only recently started to appreciate the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, and being intentional with taking care of yourself. If I could, I’d reassure my younger self that all the hard work, and sacrifices will be worth it.”