In a world where financial constraints can hinder the pursuit of higher education, bursaries play a vital role in empowering deserving students to fulfil their academic aspirations. Ms Charys-Mari Botha, a final year law student within UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies, is a shining example of how bursaries can make a significant difference in the lives of students. Through the generous support of the Willowton Bursary and Hatch Black Women’s Bursary, Botha has been able to pursue her studies and work towards her dream of becoming an attorney.
Aspirant attorney Ms Charys-Mari Botha
Coming from a single-parent household, Botha’s journey has been shaped by the unwavering support and determination of her breadwinner mother. As an educator, her mother has instilled in her the values of dreaming big and working hard to achieve her goals. Witnessing her mother's resilience and perseverance has motivated her to overcome challenges and strive for excellence in her own life.
Hailing from the Bluff, a vibrant suburb south of Durban, Botha’s career aspirations as a high school student were centred on making a positive impact in the world. Becoming a lawyer became the perfect avenue to fulfil this ambition, leading her to pursue a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at UKZN.
Her university experience was marked by unexpected challenges. Shortly after beginning her studies on campus, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a transition to remote learning, lasting for three long years. Returning to campus and facing in-person exams for the first time after such a prolonged period was a significant adjustment. However, Botha remains confident that with resilience and determination, any obstacle can be overcome.
In her final year of study, her current research focuses on medical law, particularly the fate of cryopreserved embryos in divorce cases. As she prepares for her upcoming moot, she is diving into the complexities and legal implications surrounding this issue.
During her spare time, Botha enjoys being a socialite and engaging in part-time work as a model, hostess, and promoter. She believes in striking a balance between her academic pursuits and extracurricular activities, nurturing her holistic development. She wants to explore the world as a flight attendant after completing her degree, eventually becoming a full-time attorney, utilising her legal expertise to make a difference in society.
She advised fellow students to never give up. ‘While life may present its fair share of challenges, it is crucial to remain confident in one's abilities, trust in a higher power, and persevere. Remember that nothing worthwhile comes easily. You possess the strength and resilience to overcome any obstacle that comes your way.’
In her journey, Botha learned the significance of prioritising mental health alongside physical well-being. She understands that the mind is a powerful asset, capable of either propelling one forward or becoming a liability. Therefore, she encourages students to take care of their minds, seek support when needed, and ensure a healthy balance in all aspects of life.