From KZN kasi to NYC lawyer

By Drum Digital
06 April 2011

FROM the windows of his office at the firm Davis Polk&Wardwell in New York City, Siphile Buthelezi (27) can see all the way to the tip of Manhattan. The double-glazed windows keep out the noise of the city and there is no background noise as he talks to us on the phone.

He sounds overwhelmed by the scene before him. "I can see the Statue of Liberty. I'm watching pigeons on the roof of Grand Central Station," he says. "I still can't believe it sometimes. How many kids I grew up with will ever have this opportunity? Some days I still think I'm dreaming."It is like a dream for this son of a domestic worker and a construction worker who will earn almost R1,2 million this year. It's a dream he realised with the help of the SA Visiting Lawyer Programme which gives lawyers from historically disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to gain experience at US law firms and investment banks. When his stint ends in October, he'll have six months' experience at Davis Polk & Wardwell and another six at a Wall Street investment bank to his name.

Read the article in the Drum of 14 April 2011 – and share your views below.

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