Brenda Ntambirweki has quite an impressive CV.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University, a postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice (LDC) and a Master of Civil Law degree from the University of Oxford in the UK. An associate with Sebalu & Lule, one of the country’s oldest law firms, Brenda previously served as the Secondee Legal Manager for Standard Chartered bank and performed a similar role with Stanbic bank and the East African Development bank.
Surprisingly, despite her major success in the legal profession, collecting awards along the way like the Female Achiever of the Year Award in 2006 from the Makerere Law Society after she graduated with a first-class degree, and the Uganda Law Society award 2006/07 after she graduated second in her class at the LDC, Brenda didn’t always wanted to be a lawyer.
Until she was 12, the young girl wanted to be a doctor but this changed when once, after picking her from school, her mother said: “Wouldn’t it be nicer if you were a lawyer like daddy?” This was the turning point.
“It was like a light bulb went off in my mind that day. Henceforth, I decided I would be a lawyer.”
Brenda attributes her success to hard work. Throughout her education, she was always in the top 10% of her class, an undeniable geek who always got up at 4am and used her free time to read.
She also had a morbid fear of failure especially since her father, Prof John Ntambirweki, was a lecturer at the faculty of Law; she didn’t want to embarrass him. But she pays special tribute to her parents, her mother who she says is her best friend and her dad who refused to spoon-feed her.
“My parents made sure I got the best education money could buy; they paid for my master’s degree at the University of Oxford, a huge sacrifice on their part for which I will be forever indebted.”
Brenda also mentions her siblings Barbra and Brian for putting up with her weird tendencies, her mentor Sam Dawa, who she says is more of an uncle to her and whom she credits for having put her “on the path to achieving a dream” when he said it was not impossible to get a first-class degree in law.
“I guess if he had never told me how easy it was to excel back then, I probably wouldn’t have broken my back trying!”
While a lot of women complain about being treated unfairly in the work sector and use this as an excuse not to get to the top of their respective fields, in Brenda’s opinion, women really only have themselves to blame for the imbalance.
“I think pettiness, low self-esteem and lack of drive make many women fail to reach the top of their careers.”
While her story portrays success, Brenda refutes the idea that she has reached her pinnacle. She believes she’s still young and has a lot to learn: “I guess many more challenges will come as I grow,” she says.