|Johannesburg is the pulse of South Africa in more ways than one, according to Constitutional Court judge Yvonne Mokgoro.|
JOHANNESBURG is a true reflection of what South Africa is, says Constitutional Court judge Yvonne Mokgoro.
If something happens in the country, it happens in Joburg, she says. In addition, the city demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of South Africa, and it's here where you find the answers to issues, Mokgoro believes.
She has lived in the city for 10 years, since her appointment to the court in 1994, and finds that "there's never a dull moment". She goes to theatre and says she particularly enjoys "African Footprint", and to movies and museums like the Apartheid Museum. When she has visitors she
books them on a tour of Soweto.
Photo cred: The Mandela Rhodes Foundation
She reckons that Sowetans, like other Joburgers, are innovative. "They excel in ideas, there are so many creative people here, and innovation is encouraged." The result is that Soweto is opening up to tourists and B&Bs in the township are growing.
"People with talent are drawn to Joburg, and that enriches what we have here," she says.
Mokgoro was born in Kimberley and studied law at the University of the North West, but also attended the University of Pennsylvania. She started work in the former homeland of Bopthuthatswana, as public prosecutor in the Mmabatho Magistrate's Court.
In 1984 she was appointed lecturer at the University of the North West, and soon rose to the position of associate professor. In 1992 she moved to the University of the Western Cape as associate professor, from where she moved to the Centre for Constitutional Analysis at the Human Sciences Research Council, serving as specialist researcher of human rights.
Mokgoro has presented papers at local and international conferences and has written extensively on legal matters, in particular on sociological jurisprudence, human rights and customary law and what it means for women and children. She has also acted as an advisor to non-governmental and community-based organisations and initiatives.
Another thing Mokgoro likes about Joburg is that "everything is here, things are available".
She adds: "Johannesburg compares favourably with other vibrant cities, and, this is what keeps you on your toes."
Contrary to popular perception, she believes "crime is not as bad as people make out". She says she doesn't come across it, and that people overplay it.
Retirement is not far off, and although she has a house in Kimberley, it seems doubtful that she'll go back there to live. Her four children are settled here, and, like most Joburgers, she obviously enjoys being kept on her toes.