Ex-farm worker admitted as an attorney

2012-06-16 00:00

ON Youth Day, a 57-year-old man has proved it is never too late to give up on a dream.

Siphiwe Ndimande was finally admitted as an attorney in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court yesterday.

The married father of three is now on his way to realising his other dream — to one day practice law with his youngest son, who is currently in his second year of studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

It has not been an easy road for Ndimande, who started working as a stock inspector for the government at the age of 25.

Facing challenges along the way, he will now realise a dream that began while still a casual employee at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“I worked in different places all over the province. I then came to Pietermaritzburg in the 90s to work at the Ukulinga Research Farm at the University of KwaZulu-Natal,” he told Weekend Witness yesterday.

While working at Ukulinga, he completed his matric.

“I would study at any time of the day. I’d sometimes study while working with sheep and cattle.”

After completing his matric, he said he was inspired to study law.

“I was then transferred to the main campus, and I was sorting and delivering mail,” said Ndimande.

He registered for a B. Proc degree at the then University of Natal in 1995, and completed it in 2005, studying part time, raising his children and looking after his family.

“While studying, I did not have transport, and would have to take taxis home to Ashdown. There were times where I would leave campus after eight in the evenings and I had to walk home to Ashdown.”

As he was working for the university, he was not paying for his tuition, but he started using his savings once he resigned.

After completing his B. Proc, Ndimande registered for an LLB, and he completed this in 2010, and found himself doing his articles while working for Essa and Associates Attorneys.

Mahomed Essa, of Essa and Associates Attorneys, said when Ndimande came in for an interview to complete his articles, he worried most about his age.

“He was worried that no one would take him in at the age of 50. He came in for an interview and told us up front about his age. We welcomed him and told him it did not matter how old he was,” Essa said.

He said Ndimande was sending out a message to youngsters that it is never too late to achieve one’s dreams.

Among his children are a taxi driver (32) and an architectural technician (his 24-year-old daughter).

His youngest son, who is 19, is following in his footsteps, and is currently studying law at UKZN.

“I’ll stay with Essa and Associates for a while longer, but I am hoping to one day practice law with my son,” he told Weekend Witness.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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