Following his father’s dream, Songezo Ralarala became the first attorney in the history of his family. He is motivated to be the best in whatever he does and to be a role model for his children, family and other people from backgrounds similar to his. “My final motivation is to show kids from a rural and township background that it’s possible to be successful no matter where you come from.”
Songezo completed his LLB at Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2005. In 2010 he worked briefly as legal and business adviser at the Cable TV company, TV One LLC, in the USA after being named one of the top achievers in a course in advanced commercial law. While working at the Competition Tribunal of South Africa, he was part of the team that developed the six-step methodology for determining administrative penalties in South African Competition Law. He also was senior legal advisor of regulatory affairs at Telkom where he specialised in competition and regulatory cases before being appointed the acting executive for legal and regulatory affairs.
He is currently the general counsel for the Media24 group of companies and also serves as a director in related companies within the group.
Songezo learned that there are no shortcuts in life, that hard work pays off, that “failure is part of the process” and that you have to rise from it, learn from it and not repeat the same mistakes. He also wants to leave each position he touches better than when he found it and be remembered – amongst others – as a good son, brother and father.
“I would like to be remembered for my hard work, determination, ethical leadership, perseverance and always pushing boundaries.” Some of the main characteristics that helped Songezo to be successful in his career is patience, resilience and adaptability.
His studies were partly funded by the Ackerman Trust Fund and he had to meet with Mrs Ackerman every year to explain his academic progress and why he did not want to move to an English-medium university at that time. A proud National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS) alumnus, he persisted with his studies at SU and graduated within record time.
He wants to encourage students to be themselves and to remember that the strength of their character, moulded by their history and background, will be a key factor in their success.
- By Elbie Els -