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23 August 2021 | Story Dr Cindé Greyling | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Karin van Marle
Legal scholar Prof Karin van Marle.

Karin van Marle – Professor in the Department of Public Law, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Programme Director: Research and Postgraduate Study. As an academic appointed at an institution of higher learning, she regards her main task as contributing to education and scholarship. She does so firstly through her own teaching, supervision of master’s and doctoral students, and research. And secondly, in the position of Vice-Dean and Programme Director, by assisting to strengthen the academic programmes and enhance the research culture and intellectual aims of the faculty.    

What is the best thing about your job?
To be able to live the life of the mind, always challenged by the life of action. Being an academic allows – but more than that – demands constant reading, thinking, reflection, judgment, and bringing it all to bear in enriching the lives of students and the public at large.

What is the best and worst decision you have ever made?
The best decision was to make the trip to go and see Leonard Cohen performing in Barcelona during his last worldwide concert tour. The worst decision was not to go and see Mikhail Baryshnikov giving his last performances in Toronto while I was there to see my doctoral supervisor. 

What was/is the biggest challenge of your career?
The biggest challenge remains the biggest attribute: to respond to the needs and demands of our times in a prudent and constructive way.

What does the word woman mean to you?
“No, woman, no cry.”

Which woman inspires you, and why?
Intellectually, the work of Hannah Arendt remains an inspiration and source of wisdom and ideas.

What advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?
Keep on reading and creating the world that you want to live in.

What is the one self-care thing that you do? 
Tempted to say reading, but to prevent sounding merely repetitive I will add listening to music, walking, and more recently, doing yoga.

What makes you a woman of quality, impact, and care?
I have a strong work ethic. I am interested in knowing ‘who’ someone is and not ‘what’ someone is (drawing on insightful work by thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Adriana Cavarero); and I support the freedom to continuous becoming. 
I cannot live without … books.
My secret weapon is … coffee.
I always have … a number of notebooks ready to be filled.
I will never … say never, adhering to Njabulo Ndebele’s words: “Hold on to your options.”
I hope … to remain hopeful. 

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