ΦKΦ Member Spotlight

Marla Elsea
Oct 27, 2021

Mosima Thema is a South African licensed attorney who grew up in Johannesburg. After earning a bachelor's degree in political science and psychology from Stellensbosch University and an LL.B. degree from the University of Pretoria, both in South Africa, she relocated to attend law school at the University of Southern California where she was initiated into the Society earlier this year.

In between work on her master's degree in alternative dispute resolution and an externship program at the Superior Court of Los Angeles, she volunteers as a teachers' assistant and enjoys long runs.

Let's get to know Mosima!

Why did you accept the invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi?
I accepted the invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi because it is an honor to have received recognition for my academic success. My membership is a badge of honor and confirmation that the years of hard work have indeed been worth it.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Growing up, my mother would always say to my twin brother and me that life is about choices. At every moment of our lives, we have a choice. That has always been my approach to life — everything is a choice, even success. You make the choice to succeed, and that decision is followed by the action of hard work to bring it to fruition. Even when things get tough and challenging, you have a choice to give up or keep going.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
I plan on traveling to Europe for the first time next year. I am particularly excited about visiting Italy and Greece.

What do you like to do to relieve stress?
I go for a run. Running has helped me to manage stress and insomnia over the years.

What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is June 16 which is Youth Day in South Africa. The day commemorates the 1976 Soweto uprisings in which Black students fought against the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools by the apartheid regime. The strength and willpower of those students and their fight for the greater good for future generations allowed me to become an educated Black woman. This day is also important to me because it is the day my father was born many moons prior.

What is special about the place you grew up?
My family. I was privileged to grow up with a loving and supportive family, invested in making sure I knew that I belonged.

How do you stay motivated?
Self-motivation is not always the easiest, especially when the going gets tough, but I stay motivated by reminding myself of why I started. The "why" is important and even more so on hard days when giving up seems like the easier option.

What’s your favorite food?
My grandmother's bean soup.

What’s your favorite family tradition?
Our family gatherings over the holiday season in December are always fun and a great way to wrap up the year.

Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?
As the first attorney in my family, I did not have any Black female attorneys to provide mentorship or to draw inspiration from during my youth. My inspiration came from wanting to make a difference and having parents who supported me.

To learn more about Mosima and connect, visit her profile within our online member community, here.

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