UCL Laws welcomes three Namibian students to visit and experience life at UCL

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of UCL Faculty of Laws, has provided support for three Namibian law students to visit and experience life at UCL Laws.

Maggie Likoro, Vilho Mbangu and Joas Kamundulunge are LLB undergraduate students at the University of Namibia (UNAM) who gained valuable pro bono work experience in their home country.

As a reward for their pro bono work, the students were invited to London during UNAM’s long holiday period, December to February.

Professor Dame Hazel Genn, said:

‘It was my pleasure to welcome Maggie, Vilho and Joas to UCL Faculty of Laws from the University of Namibia. They clearly deserved the opportunity to experience UCL Laws and make the most of their time in the UK, having shown real commitment during their pro bono work. I also offer deep thanks to Professor Effa Okupa who has organised this trip and made it possible for the students to visit us.’

Professor Okupa, Research Associate and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Namibia and Research Associate at SOAS, said:

‘Thanks to the unsurpassable generosity of the remarkable academics at UCL Faculty of Laws, the Namibian students had a stimulating visit. Even Mr Jeremy Bentham would have been tremendously impressed by Dame Hazel’s contribution to legal education in Africa.’

The UNAM students had an intense schedule at UCL Laws and planned to do some research into the UCL Bentham Project as well as attending seminars on legal topics, public lectures on Current Legal Problems and visiting the UCL Institute for Human Rights.

Vilho said:

‘Independent thinking is what I really like about UCL. Here academics trigger you to think of possible solutions as opposed to just give you all the answers and tell you what you need to do. I think we should adopt this way of studying and approach to legal problem in our country as well and encourage students to think more on their own.’

During the Christmas holiday, the students spent some time in Oxford with their lead researcher, Ndjodi Ndeunyma, BCL (Oxon) MSc Criminology (Oxon) at Linacre College. The holiday break in Oxford prepared them for a visit to HM Open Prisons.

Joas said:

‘I really enjoyed sightseeing in London and visiting Oxford. One of the things that I’ll take back with me is the way lectures are structured here. I noticed that when students disagree with their lecturer it doesn’t cause any problems. I’m not say that this necessarily causes an issue back home but it does affect the relationships between a lecturer and a student.

Whereas at UCL I felt that students could express their opinions, argue their cases and even contradict their lecturers as it’s all part of the learning experience.’

Maggie said:

‘At first it was scary to visit the prison and it was hard not to get attached to all the cases we were working on. There were so many emotions going on and I had to remind myself that the prisoners were in there because they did something wrong. I learned to detach myself and see the situation from a legal perspective and eventually I felt more comfortable within the environment.’

For their pro bono work in Namibia, Maggie and Vilho worked in the Namibia Correctional Service dealing with any prison officers’ misconducts and working on various prisoners’ cases. Joas worked at The Namibian Law and Reform Development Commission doing some research on all aspects of Namibian Law and then worked on legal drafting within the Ministry of Justice.