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Black Bar set up to tackle white domination

Publish date: 05 November 2018
Issue Number: 798
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

Leading black advocates have announced their intention to take on white male supremacy in the legal community by forming a Bar association with a majority of black and female members. ‘We are unapologetically black and women orientated,’ Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, one of the founding members of the Pan African Bar Association of SA (Pabasa), said at the voluntary association’s launch last week, according to a Business Day report. ‘We are creating an atmosphere where being black and being a woman are the norm. We are creating an atmosphere where black people and women do not need to explain themselves; do not need to seek white male validation to be recognised.’ Pabasa, which already has 70 prospective members, aims to ensure that black and female advocates are briefed to argue cases involving commercial, tax and construction law – areas that Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argues have been dominated by white males. This, he said, was because white partners in law firms were more inclined to brief white male junior advocates to argue these cases. ‘This nonsense where they keep saying “we don’t know who to brief because we don’t know you guys” must really come to an end because you know its name – it’s racism. Pabasa wants to stop racism at its root and we want to stop the sweet-talking nonsense. So if I mess up a case, I shouldn’t get the work. But if I win a case, I shouldn’t be excluded just because I’m black. We have to start by breaking down these patterns of privilege that reinforce whiteness,’ he said.

Full Business Day report (subscription needed)