Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans – 2018 Edition
Justice & Law

Sagwadi Mabunda (25)

PhD candidate, University of the Western Cape

Sagwadi Mabunda is a 25-year-old third year PhD candidate at UWC, currently working on the South African Cybercrimes Bill. She has a master’s in International Criminal Justice and is working hard to build a career around the prevention of cybercrime. Her goal is to provide African governments with advice and support around effective legislation and policies around cybercrime, starting with cyber money laundering.

“My journey is anchored in curiosity,” says Mabunda. “It began with a fascination with the inner workings of the criminal mind and has led to a dedication to academic research. I did my LLB at Wits and moved to UWC to do my LLM in 2015. I was one of 12 master’s candidates in my class and I was both the youngest and only South African candidate. I was awarded a full DAAD Scholarship to complete the master’s programme.”

By the time she hit 23, Mabunda had enrolled for her PhD and started building an impressive list of achievements. She published in the Oxford Journal Statute Law Review in 2017, presented and published a paper at the IST-Africa Conference in Namibia, and has another icABCD conference coming up in August 2018. She attended the Siracusa International Institute Specialised Course in Italy and was one of only five African participants.

She’s grateful to her parents for supporting her lofty ambitions. “My parents are really important to me, but I must give special credit to my dad, Calvin Mabunda,” she says. “He instilled in me the love of knowledge and stopped his own PhD midway to take care of us. So my PhD journey is picking up the mantle and making the dream real for us both.” — Tamsin Oxford

Twitter and Instagram: @260Dee1