Change the world


With a passion for social justice, legal education and personal growth and development, it was no fluke that Nelson Mandela University’s former Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Avinash Govindjee, rose to the bench of the Eastern Cape High Court at Makhanda.

Prof Govindjee, who served Mandela University in various capacities in the faculty for 20 years, assumed his position as High Court Judge at Makhanda in January this year, after acting in the position in Gqeberha since January 2021.

He has expressed a wish to continue with some academic involvement as a means to contribute to the development of young, aspiring lawyers. Mandela University is excited at the prospect of a continued association with Judge Govindjee.

Judge Govindjee has recently been nominated for appointment as an Honorary Professor in the Department of Public Law, subject to the requisite approval processes of the institution.

Honorary professorship recognises and rewards people who have made or will continue to make a significant contribution to the University in various ways, such as providing a formal means by which former Professors of the institution may continue an association with Mandela University in terms of the teaching, research, scholarship, creative work, and community engagement.

The head of the Department of Public Law at the University, Prof Johanna Botha, said Justice Govindjee’s nomination had passed the initial approval of Law Faculty Management Committee, and was under the consideration of the Academic Titles Committee (ATC) that sits in May.

“[The proposed appointment would mean that Justice Govindjee] would retain mainly a research based relationship with the Faculty and would assist us by presenting guest lectures and seminars; co-supervision of doctoral candidates; collaborative research based projects; writing articles and books under the Mandela Uni banner; and other such activities,” said Prof Botha.

“We are delighted that our relationship [could] continue, albeit in a different form, as Justice Govindjee is a dynamic and impactful researcher, whose research work we value immensely.”

In his illustrious career, Judge Govindjee has served as Consulting Attorney to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr; as a Senior Commissioner at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for more than a decade, and as consultant to the International Institute for Social Law and Policy (IISLP).

He has been a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher and a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) and was the University’s Faculty of Law Researcher of the Year for five consecutive years before assuming the deanship in 2016.

He was included in the Mail & Guardian’s List of “200 Young South Africans” and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Top 40 under 40 list during 2013 and was a finalist in the Titans  - Building Nations Award in the Academic, Education and Training section in 2014.

In 2015, he was invited to join the African Leadership Network, a community of leaders working to create change in Africa and his alma mater, Rhodes University, selected him to receive the Emerging Old Rhodian Award.

Judge Govindjee has formed part of the Juta Annual Labour Law Seminar presentation team, along with John Grogan and Puke Maserumule, for the past five years.

He received a Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) Scholarship and was a resident in Stellenbosch for short periods of time in 2019, to work on a project pertaining to Migration, Vulnerability and Social Protection (2019-2021).

On his appointment to the High Court, Judge Govindjee said: “This is the pinnacle of any legal career and something legal practitioners should aspire to. It is an absolutely privilege and humbling experience to serve in this way.”

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777