[My Time At Portia]Moodley realises a 30-year dream when admitted as an advocate
At 4am, even when it is cold and still dark, Thanigasalan Moodley arrives at the Railway Barracks Shree Emperumal Temple in Croftdene, Chatsworth, in a loin cloth and bare chested to perform abhishegam, the ritual bathing of the idols.
When he has finished dressing the stone idols and adorning them with garlands, he offers prayers before proceeding to run the family business, a service station in Silverglen.
In between, Moodley finds time to complete university assignments and attend lectures at law school. This- he has been doing for several years.
Last week, the gentle and humble businessman and cultural leader realised a 30-year dream when he was admitted as an advocate in the High Court, KwaZulu-Natal division, and took the oath of office before deputy judge president, Isaac Madondo and justices, Thoba Portia Poyo-Dlwati and Rob Mossop in Pietermaritzburg.
The academic path has had its challenges for 48-year-old Moodley- when he was 14, his father was killed in a hijacking incident and he had to instantly become the ‘man of the house’ and look after his mother, Vatsala and sisters, Kribashni and Thaneshni.
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After school, he would assist his mother at their family business. Upon matriculating from Southlands Secondary School, he enrolled to study for the BA law degree at the University of Durban-Westville from 1991 which he completed in 1994. However, he continued managing the service station business and did not get to practice law.
After a break of 20 years from studying, and urged by his paternal uncle, Runga Moodley, he enrolled for the LLB degree at UKZN Howard College in 2014, which he completed in 2018. He took the bar exam at the end of 2020.
Moodley also serves on several cultural and religious organisations- he is chairman of the Natal Tamil Vedic Society Trust, chairman of the Shree Emperumal Temple in Chatsworth and an official of the Devasthanam Foundation of South Africa.
He said, “Qualifying as an advocate was taxing as I had to juggle my time in the business, family responsibilities and community activities. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my mother, my wife, Loshantha and children, Dharshan, Banupriya and Thiyagan for their faith in me and for being understanding when I was buried in law books and could not spend as much time with them as I should have,” he said.
Loshantha Moodley who runs Anapurani Catering Services, was in awe of her husband’s determination and commitment to qualify as an advocate despite having a busy schedule of activities.
“Our children and I are so proud that he did not give up and pursued his studies until he fulfilled his ambition. This is no easy task when you are running a business and also involved in community work,” she said. Moodley intends on running a dual practice in Chatsworth, providing services of both an attorney and an advocate.