Pension funds adjudicator has always been a go-getter and plans to make a success of new role

Lihle Mtshali

Lihle Mtshali

At the age of 14, the average girl child is starting high school; at 19 she is matriculating; at 22 she is finishing university and at 24 she is at the beginning of her career.

Mamodupi Mohlala was far beyond the run-of-the-mill girl child. She matriculated at 14; attained her Bachelor of Arts in law at 19; finished her Bachelor of Law at 22; and attained a Masters in Law and was admitted as an attorney at 24.

Mohlala is the recently appointed pension funds adjudicator.

She has this to say about her new position: "I see it as a good opportunity to continue the sterling work done by my predecessor."

She was born 33 years ago in Swaziland to parents who were political activists and were in exile there.

"My date of birth, January 8, is important to note in that it is the day on which the ANC was formed. Thus each year when the ANC celebrates its birthday, so do I," she says.

Mohlala has many fond memories of her childhood in exile, particularly when the family lived in Tanzania.

On days like June 16 the ANC community would wake up early and toyi-toyi around campus, singing freedom songs. She and her younger brother would never miss a single toyi-toyi session. They would even start practising freedom songs the night before.

"The whole energy of the toyi-toyi sessions used to be out of this world.

" It used to make us all feel like we were a part of the suffering masses at home, though we were miles away," she remembers.

Mohlala was the youngest councillor at Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) during her first term. She was appointed when she was only 28. She says that she has never considered herself to be anything other than normal.

"I am driven by the need to make a difference. I have always had a belief that to have lived and not [to have] made a mark or touched other people's lives even in a small way is a wasted life," she says.

Mohlala is single and has no children of her own, but has a nice and a nephew whom she loves dearly.