“Currently, the quality of healthcare that one can access and experience depends on what side of legal knowledge and empowerment they sit upon. If we all sit on the right side, we can both deliver and receive healthcare services better. Health, I also believe, is a non-negotiable basic human right.”- Lebani Mazhani
Lebani Mazhani is a Medical Lawyer (LLM Medical Law and Ethics, University of Kent UK) who is driven by a personal passion for health law. As a Cancer patient in 2014 navigating the healthcare system, she was awakened to the many loopholes in the processes and realised the opportunities for the law to mitigate those shortfalls. She became an avid Cancer Awareness Activist, authoring a booklet series and using her public speaking strengths to advocate for equitable access to healthcare. Her work gained her recognition as one of Botswana’s 50 Changemakers Under 40 in 2016, and her message of Hope reached international audiences.
After graduating from the University of Botswana with an LLB in 2016, Lebani was adamant that she wanted a career in Medical Law, and she literally had to craft it, since, at the time, there was no other such specialist in the country. She was awarded the Chevening Scholarship by the UK Government in 2020 and has earned her Master’s with Distinction. She has been a formidable voice in the space she designed, networking and working with the Ministry of Health, patient support groups and corporate entities in fundraising, corporate social responsibilities and training.
Lebani is a versatile lawyer, having had a short stint as a Prosecutor for the Directorate of Public Prosecutions before she was appointed an Assistant Registrar of Deeds, where she has served with unmitigated success. She has gained extensive knowledge of land and allocation processes and policies in Botswana and has had the opportunity to participate in the registration of Title Deeds and Mortgage Bonds of all sorts of complexities, sharpening her eye for principled compliance and risk assessment.
She is currently the Director of Lebani Mazhani Medical Law Consultancy and Associates, the first specialised service provider of its kind in Botswana, researching, advocating and consulting for both local and international organisations in the areas of Healthcare Law, Ethics and Human Rights.
1. What makes legal practice exciting for Lebani?
For Lebani, every day is an opportunity to learn and experience something new. She also understands that the legal practice is alive and beats at a different rhythm every day; she loves that about it! One day she is here, the next she is somewhere completely different, all in the comfort of her office! ‘It is thrilling!’ Lebani notes.
2. What is Lebani’s philosophy of impacting the nation through the practice of the law?
As a Medical Lawyer, her philosophy is to enable equitable access to healthcare for all through better policy and legal accountability. “Currently, the quality of healthcare that one can access and experience depends on what side of legal knowledge and empowerment they sit upon. If we all sit on the right side, we can both deliver and receive healthcare services better. Health, I also believe, is a non-negotiable basic human right.” Lebani notes
3. What is the next big thing she is working on?
Growing her consultancy through advocating for the rights of patients and doctors, to create a less litigious environment that is instead characterised by all parties inspired to attain a common good is foremost for her. Right now, she believes there is a rise in medico-legal cases and that is not necessarily a good thing for medical practice, as it encourages defensive medicine and disadvantages all. She would like to change that, specifically by creating an Arbitration board for medical disputes. That is her five-year goal, an arbitration body.
4. What does she consider the millennials’ greatest strength?
“Versatility! My goodness, have we not seen the waves?!” Lebani quips. She notes that there have been global recessions, nation-building, nation collapsing, economic booms, famine and global pandemics, all before our eyes, and these have all been tangible changes that millennials have had to rise above and storms millennials have had to weather. She also thinks the fact that she is practising law today and even able to imagine doing so from anywhere in the world at a click of a button, says a lot about the versatility that she, and other millennials, have had to employ.
5. Who, in the profession does she look up to, and what is she currently reading?
Undoubtedly, Ms Regina Sikalesele-Vaka, a powerhouse attorney who pioneered the insurance law industry in Botswana is someone Lebani looks up to. It took a single conversation with her at a Law Society Dinner whilst Lebani was still an undergraduate law student, to believe in every wild dream that Lebani had. And to understand that though the path she wanted to traverse had not yet been cleared, she had the tools to do so herself, and get to exactly where she needed to be. On the topic of powerful black women, she is currently reading “Slay in Your Lane!” Very slowly, Lebani adds because she is seriously digesting every word. She considers this authorship from Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke a great book for any Black African Woman who wants to be of any significance and survive the aggressions and assaults of the West, where racism is still very real.
The PALM considers Lebani Mazhani a legal millennial who has shown exceptional radiance in the field of legal practice.
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