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In 1976, a 19-year-old Richard Shakenovsky found himself in the South African police force, doing his mandatory national service. Little did he know the events that followed would change his life forever. JANE SOUTHWARD reports

It was after witnessing police brutality during the Soweto Uprising that Richard Shakenovsky decided to study law once he had completed his national service.

Although grateful for his police experience, the atrocities that Shakenovsky witnessed tugged at his moral fibre and he made a promise to himself to show gratitude for the opportunities he had been afforded.

“To see inhumane conduct with your own eyes is a big, big lesson,” Shakenovsky says. “When you see hate, it’s easy to know you have to try to do something good.”

After completing his law degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Shakenovsky began practising law, completed a university diploma in Human Rights, and built a Johannesburg-based legal practice with a staff of 21.

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