Rashiedah Laike Winesi is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Honours at the University of Malawi (UNIMA).
In this exclusive interview, Winesi talks to Muslim Media Agency’s Editor Bright Malenga.
Bright Malenga : Where are you from and tell us your academic background ?
Rashiedah Laike Winesi ; I am from Balaka. I went to government primary schools in typical remote areas of Malawi. I did my primary School in my home village Namanolo, then in Standard 7, I went to Masakapende Full Primary School and then at Mgoloka Full Primary for my Standard 8 and Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations.
When I wrote Standard 8 examinations, I was selected to go to Balaka Secondary School. Then, I also got selected to Assalam Girls and Mama Khadija Academy concurrently. My parents advised me to go to an Islamic School so that I shouldn’t lose sight of my religion as I advance in my educational career.
Then I went to Assalamu Girls’ because it was close to home. I didn’t last a term there, I was interested in going to a far away place then, I left and went to Mama Khadija. My academic performance was great there I got 16 points during my Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) Examinations and that was in 2013.
Then, I was immediately selected to the University of Malawi (UNIMA) , formerly known by its constituent College name, Chancellor College (CHANCO) , where I studied Public Administration and graduated in 2019 with strong credit.
Bright Malenga : How did you find yourself at the University of Malawi’s Law School ?
Rashiedah Laika Winesi :I had developed a long childhood passion for law upon seeing the judge’s regalia. I told myself that “one day I should also wear this” and my parents continuously encouraged me to pursue my dream by exposing me to more interesting content related to Law.
When I made it to the University of Malawi, I applied for Law School upon completion of my first year but I didn’t make it. It was a very disturbing moment for me but I embraced my fate and continued with my programme.
Surprisingly, I developed great interest in my Public Administration studies and I enjoyed my academic journey. My passion was generally on governance and international relations. Among the friends I had then, some of them were in the legal profession and I would discuss with them about my dreams until when one of them asked me if I had completely given up on my law dreams. That ringed a bell in me to satisfy the inner child in me.
Then, I applied again for Law “kungoyesera mwayi” when I was in fourth year and I made it. I was graduating whilst in my first year of law degree.
Bright Malenga : What are your secrets to succeed as a Law student ?
Rashiedah Laika Winesi :
I acknowledge that I am not competent and that I will always need other people’s help for me to do well. I choose who to keep close as a friend and who to merely meet and greet so, I try to keep company of people who will contribute more to my personal development. I made it my rule to be approachable to friends and peers and I seek help when needed but I also render assistance to those who need it.
2. Swalat and Du’a
Pressure in Law School can be depressing at times. Without du’a nothing can work. I made it a habit to be praying about anything and everything else. Instead of having one person as a best friend, I chose Allah as my best friend because of His ultimate Perfection. So I report to Allah everything that happens to me on a daily basis. Also, whenever I have a pile of due dates I wake up for Tahajjud seeking blessings of time and Allah’s general help.
I do my best to study alot, and smartly so. Studying is a must in Law School, without it there’s no way I can excel in anything. I just have to know and familiarize myself with the law.
4. My failure motivates me
I don’t expect to always get the best grades. Such expectations can cause depression. I want good grades but I accept and embrace whatever comes, the good or bad performance. Often times poor performance allows me to reflect on my approach to studies, it motivates me to put in extra effort and see positive results afterwards.
5. Participating in extra curricular activities
Law School is very eventful. We have Staff-Students Seminars, Moots and other legal clinic activities. I am almost everywhere. This teaches me how to handle pressure and upgrade on my time management skills. I enjoy doing these activities and they also contribute to my academic performance.
I also participate in activities outside Law School. These include activities of Muslim Students and of other campus clubs.
6. Remembering why I am at School
I make constant reflections of my life, where I am coming from and where I want to be. Thinking of my home is sufficient motivation for me to work hard. I just have to do better and more. I can only call myself successful if I achieve more than what my parents achieved. There’s a long way to go but I take pride in the fact that the baby steps that started with a scanty dream have taken me to the corridors of UNIMA. I am sure that if I keep on dreaming big, my dreams will take me far as high as higher can take me.
Bright Malenga : What are your future plans after graduating and being admitted to the bar ?
Rashiedah Laika Winesi : I want to work in government. I want to serve in government. The Law profession is known for its money, particularly in the private sector. However, my motivation came from a civil servant and I wish to join the civil service. The other reason is that I want to have a life outside the law firm, but also I wish to memorize Qur’an soon after graduating In Shaa Allah. Hence, the public sector remains very attractive to me.
Bright Malenga : What can you tell Muslim women who need to study Law ?
If I am doing it , it means they can do it as well. We need more Muslims in the legal profession so I would encourage them to pursue this dream, it’s beautiful.
There are two ways to join law school. These are as an undergraduate or a mature entry student. As an undergraduate, the first licence is to do your best in your MSCE and get selected by NCHE to a public University. It doesn’t matter whether you are good at humanities or sciences, just secure a place at the University first. Then get a credit score in your first year at the University for you to qualify for Law entrance applications. The rest will follow from there.
For the mature entry level, get a credit or distinction score in your degree program and apply for Law entrance exams. They advertise every year.