The HRDA Chronicles

The LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) is the flagship Masters Programme at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Since 2000, the programme has trained some of the best minds in Africa who have gone on to create change in different parts of the world.

These human rights experts that now make up the HRDA Alumni Association have through their relentless efforts demonstrated unwavering commitment to the values of human rights. Some have indeed laid down their lives in the defence of the rights of others.It is in recognition of the outstanding work being done by these heroes of the human rights system that the HRDA Chronicles has been initiated to spotlight what members of the Alumni are doing to make the world a better place.

HRDA Chronicles is a video series produced by the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) Alumni Association at the Centre for Human Rights, based at the University of Pretoria.

This series aims to celebrate the work of the members of the HRDA Alumni Association and to encourage other human rights defenders across the globe as they brave the odds to realise the promises of several human rights covenants.

Episode 1

The pilot episode of HRDA Chronicles features Melanie Smuts – an alumna from the class of 2012, who established Streetlight Schools – an initiative aimed at providing high quality and affordable education to children in South Africa.

Episode 2

The second episode of HRDA Chronicles features Maushami Chetty – an alumna from the class of 2004, who along with her business partner Eugene Botha, started Novate Legal, a law firm that caters specifically to the needs of small and medium scale enterprises (SME’s).

What is striking is not just the fact that Maushami is trying to make law more accessible, understandable and affordable, but that she is going about it in the most non-traditional way. While at it, she hopes to reduce the unemployment rate in South Africa and also help her clients mainstream human rights into their businesses.

As the NOVATE model continues to resonate with more people in South Africa, HRDA Chronicles places the spotlight on Maushami and how she is challenging age-long norms of legal practice.

In her words to older generation law firms, she says: We are coming for you!