Tebello Motshwane’s chosen route may not be the most conventional in the eyes of the legal world, but her expertise as an attorney is put to good use helping women to become educated, empowered and equipped in all things pertaining to the law.
Through her business, Sister In Law, Motshwane uses her qualifications to help women.
“I package and simplify legal concepts in an understandable way so that women can make informed decisions about their lives,” she explains.
With this thinking, her goal is for more South African women to become educated about principles of the law and understand how it applies to them. She believes that this will enable women to empower themselves and their families.
Sister In Law was founded in 2018 as a blog and has grown into a successful resource to aid women with legal advice.
“Women are already largely empowered in other fields, so I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and I have not looked back since,” Motshwane says.
She feels that women too often find themselves at a disadvantage when the family unit is divided and that family law support should be accessible to all women. Her aim is to continuously encourage women to take back their power through providing practical and easy-to-consume legal advice.
At the beginning of 2020, she started a podcast called “Sisters In Conversation” in which she profiled women of colour in the legal profession. “I wanted a platform where I could share the challenges and highlights of the under-represented gender and race while creating awareness of the varying areas of practice that exist.”
The podcast has hosted more than 40 women from various backgrounds and has become a tool where “each one teaches one — a passing of the baton to the next generation of women in law”, she says.
Besides being a notable changemaker and mentor within her industry, she has acquired many accolades over the years, including what she deems her proudest moment — being selected as a fellow for the Nelson Mandela Washington Fellowship 2020/2021.
“The fellowship ran for six weeks and I was selected in the business category. I am now officially an alumni of the prestigious fellowship.”
Throughout her many career and personal achievements, she has never stopped her mission to help women ensure that they take control of their legal affairs.
“My vision was and still is to demystify the law and show women that the law exists for their benefit and empowerment. It’s not a tool reserved for a certain class of people.”
The weight of responsibility in a profession of this nature — and the role Motshwane has carved out for herself — is no easy feat. “[I may be] a relatively small role player in the legal profession, but my vision is to keep educating women about their rights purely because, when you know more, you are enabled to make better decisions,” she says.
Given the climate of our flawed legal system and its persistent discrimination against women, Motshwane recognises that this can make women feel despondent or as though the law is against them.
She is driven to continue inspiring women, as the impact of equipping one woman at a time can lead to a ripple effect of change. “Empowering one woman has the potential to empower a family unit and that is what keeps me motivated.”