South Africa University Student Portal

Two Rhodes University law students scooped the top award at an African moot court competition held in Benin last week. Ingrid Cloete and Fausto Di Palma were the overall winners of the 19th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, held in Cotonou.

The competition was held at the capital city’s University of Abomey-Calavi and was organised by the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights.

More than 50 teams from 25 African countries got together for the competition, which is the biggest gathering of law students and lecturers on the continent.

Cloete, who also won the award for the best individual in the English-speaking category, said she had not believed it when they were named the winners of the coveted law competition. “The competition is incredibly prestigious, so to have won it is very exciting,” she said.

Cloete and Di Palma competed against 56 other student teams from universities in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa. Di Palma said he had initially been intimidated by his fellow competitors, especially their South African counterparts, as they had more experience in moot court competitions.

“However, when we all got to know each other, which did not take long since we spent a lot of waking hours in the same places, all those feelings of intimidation turned to excitement.”

The win was the university’s first win since it started competing 18 years ago, although another Rhodes student, Chris McConnachie, won in the individual speaker category last year.

Ten SA universities, including Rhodes, made it into the top 10 English-speaking category. These include the universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and North West.

Article by Zandile Mbabela from the Herald