Wezi Sataya graduated with a law degree at the Metropolitan University in South Africa and formed part of the legal studies department at Catholic University of Malawi. She now heads the department, and is the youngest dean in the institution. Every Woman caught up with her.
The last born of three, with a brother and a sister that were always exceptional, 27-year-old Wezi Sataya constantly felt she had to up her game in order to keep up. Her older brother Michael Sataya wound up in civil engineering (chartered civil engineer), while her sister, Yvonne Mandiki is a chartered chemical engineer.
Moving away from the engineering profession that both her siblings ventured into, she studied law and graduated with her law degree (cum laude, second in her class) from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa in 2010. She went to South End Primary School and Kamuzu Academy for her preliminary studies.
Upon her graduation, Sataya joined Catholic University of Malawi as a lecturer in 2011. “I joined Catholic University to form the Legal Studies Department. As a department, we serviced the other departments in the institution because we were not offering stand alone law courses at the time. Few more part timers joined us, and now we offer legal studies as a full course,” she says.
She was appointed dean as the institution was establishing a fully fledged Legal Studies Department. Among other duties, she is responsible for the recruitments in the faculty for both part time and full time lecturers as well as allocation of courses for the lecturers.
One would wonder why she is not practicing law, opting to teach instead. She describes herself as one of those people who like to read, and that is one of the reasons that led her to studying law.
“I like reading; as such I thought I would really enjoy studying law. After my degree, I did not really want to practice, so I opted instead to go into academics. I enjoy lecturing, because I think it is my way of giving back to the community. It always gives me a sense of satisfaction when I see my former students working. It makes me proud that I played a role in their success,” says Sataya.
She wrote her bar examinations in 2012, and was admitted to the bar in 2014, after which she worked part time at Knight and Knight for almost a year.
“It was quite a good experience combining lecturing and law practice,” she says.
She dreams of working for an international organisation, whether outside the country or right at home, specifically in child justice or women’s rights.
“I have gained some interest in child justice and women’s rights. I have been teaching Social Work and The Law over the years, and it looks into things to do with recognising the rights of women and children. So I would love to delve deeper into this so that I can see what exactly is happening in these areas and see how I can help,” says Sataya.
Her journey thus far has not been without challenges. For one thing, she is that young, as a woman in management.
“One thing about the legal profession is that it is quite challenging. I am the only female in the faculty of six. In addition, we are just three women within catholic University management. The challenge is therefore upon us to always try and prove ourselves. Additionally, being young and inexperienced is yet another challenge. While the rest of my colleagues are older and experienced, some of us have to get on our toes and learn quickly to stay in the game,” she says.
Her mother Eunice Sataya believes that it is the fear of the Lord that has helped her succeed in life. “This girl loves the Lord; she can sing and she can preach. As parents we also encouraged our children to dedicate themselves in education. I personally would like to see many girls attain their education,” says the mother who personally has always encouraged girls to go further with education, arguing that the sky is the limit.
Her fear of the Lord is evident in a number of ways. She is a member of the Catholic Charismatic youth ministry, where with her friends they go around colleges such as Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), Polytechnic and College of Medicine sharing the word of God and giving students inspirational talks.
She was also chosen vice secretary for Catholic Institute (CI) Parish Council. “I never expected that,” she says. She also coordinates music in the Catholic Charismatic Ministry in the Blantyre Archdiocese.
The young woman likes to watch crime stories on television. She is also a football fanatic. “My father liked Bata Bullets, as it was formerly known; and he would always take me and my brother along to watch the matches. I actually played football in secondary school and in my first year at university,” says Sataya who now plays netball and is captain for Catholic University staff team.
She says she has learnt from her father, Matthias Sataya, an established Quantity Surveyor of Sataya Partnership that one can be successful while remaining humble and selfless; and that through the hard times one can still retain a sense of humour.
“My mother on the other hand, has taught me that to be a woman of true integrity and substance; you must love God and honour Him in all you do. I strives to live life as such,” she says. n