As the daughter of a pastor, Lebogang Modjadji lives by a strong moral code. Poised to become a criminal lawyer, she’s using that sense of right and wrong to build her career.
In her second year of LLB studies at the University of Pretoria, Lebogang has always been driven to succeed. “I’ve always been serious about school,” she says, “I have that mentality.” The second born of three children, Lebogang grew up with her siblings and parents in a Limpopo township. Her parents have suffered, she says, and often struggled to make ends meet. “I want my kids to have a better life. I want them to have what I didn’t get growing up.”
Aside from the earning potential law offers, it’s also provides the chance to create a career with meaning and to build a better world for future generations. “With law I can acquire skills to make a difference in the community,” says Lebogang. “It’s a combination of theory and practice so there are a lot of exciting things to deal with every day – I’ll never be bored!” Lebogang has clear career goals and plans to become an advocate specialising in criminal law.
From uncertainty to security
Lebogang says going to university was a leap of faith. “I didn’t know how I was going to go about paying my tuition fees,” she says. “When I got the call telling me I got the Moshal scholarship I was so excited because I initially didn’t have any idea what would happen. It’s helped me a lot.”
The Moshal scholarship is about more than just covering tuition fees, says Lebogang. “We have coordinators so when we’re struggling, we have someone we can talk to.” The Moshal students also lean on one another. “We are more of a family, which is what I like. If you have challenges, you always have someone to turn to. They literally take care of you in every sense, not only financially, but by ensuring your wellbeing.”
Lebogang’s family supports her desire to study and knows that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. “My family is so proud of me,” she says. “I’m the first one to go to university.”
In terms of the Moshal values, the ones that speak to Lebogang the most are perseverance, tolerance and especially integrity. “My father is a pastor, so my family is very religious,” she says. “In religious families, morals play a big part. I’ve been raised in a proper way, so I know I have to live my life with integrity. I know what’s right and what’s wrong, so I always have to be honest and consistent with what I believe in and with my moral principles. Being truthful in every situation and making sure my actions match my words is important.”
In line with her principals, Lebogang believes in giving back. “I’ve done community work last year and I’m planning to do more again in the future,” she says. “Last year we went to schools around Pretoria. We bought shoes for high school learners, as well as sanitary towels and calculators to help them. We also told them about the careers we’re studying towards and what we do. This year I’m planning to go to a children’s home and help them with whatever they might need.”
Life hasn’t always been easy for Lebogang but the obstacles she’s overcome have, in fact, given her the determination required to keep pushing forward. “When I face challenges, I find strength in looking back and remembering where I come from,” she says. “I also think about my goals and that gives me the energy to keep going. When life gets tough, I get back into the game – I push even though it’s hard.”
A lot of Lebogang’s inner strength and virtues come from her mother. “My role model is my mother,” says Lebogang. “She is very selfless and has instilled solid values in me. I admire her qualities – she is strong, non-judgemental, full of wisdom and she gives the best advice. She taught me the important stuff in life.”
When she’s seeking professional inspiration, Lebogang has a mentor who embodies all she hopes to become. “She’s a lovely lady doing her postgrad. This is the person I go to when I face academic challenges. She is very ambitious, and she inspires me a lot. I just want to be like her, she motivates me and helps me keep track of end my goal.”
Through her experiences thus far, Lebogang has learnt that the road to success starts with a positive attitude. “I’ve learned that nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself,” she says. “Here I am on the journey to becoming a great person.”