Ph.D. Journeys: The only person who should determine what you can or cannot do is you!

By Cecile Tchoujan


Dr. Tabeth Masengu is the first person to receive a joint Ph.D. — Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Law from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Ghent University in Belgium. Dr. Masengu overcame numerous challenges throughout her legal career. She was initially inspired by the O. J. Simpson trial to pursue law, and despite the naysayers, she has remained determined. Some of the most astounding achievements of her career span over more than a decade.

In 2006, Dr.Tabeth Masengu graduated Cum Laude from Rhodes University in South Africa and obtained a Bachelor of law. She also was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa in 2010. She worked in a human rights NGO before obtaining an LLM in Human Rights Law from The London School of Economics and Political Science in 2011. Dr. Masengu was also a Senior Researcher at the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa until July 2019. As a researcher, she pioneered and led the gender arm of judicial governance work at the DGRU. She also led the Women Pioneer Program funded by the Norwegian embassy, which seeks to capacitate and empower women law students and magistrates. Lastly, she served as the Southern African Correspondent for the Oxford University Human Rights Hub.

Cecile Tchoujan (CT) at the Institute for African Women in Law had a chat with Dr.Tabeth Masengu (Dr. M) regarding her legal journey. In revealing a more comprehensive understanding of Dr.Tabeth Masengu’s career and achievements, the Institute hopes to inspire other women in law.