Kavya Dangda, a 34-year-old South African expat living in Bengaluru, India’s thriving tech metropolis, is making waves. She is breaking new ground as an intellectual-property lawyer in a conservative culture that frequently prizes a more domestic role for women. A graduate of Singapore’s prestigious Masters of Law programme, she is using her expertise and dogged South African determination to succeed in the complex and exciting field of intellectual property law.
Dangda’s move from South Africa to Bengaluru was full of promising prospects but also presented some difficulties. She is an educated professional, but as a single woman in India, she faces discrimination when looking for a place to live. Dangda overcame these challenges and is now happily settled in a place near her workplace, where she pays roughly twenty percent of her income on rent and other living expenses.
She says, “I have contemplated it, but it would mean allocating about 30-40% of my income to a mortgage,” in response to the common suggestion that she should follow in the footsteps of her parents and other adults by purchasing a home. As a single woman who loves to travel, it’s a commitment I’m not ready for. The situation restricts my mobility. This sentiment is shared by young people all across the world, who are increasingly opting to rent rather than buy a home.
Dangda took a circuitous route to success, going against the grain of Indian culture, where experience is valued more than education. After two years of job experience were lost, she decided to pursue her LLM despite initial opposition and scepticism. But she never wavered in her dedication to her professional goals. She now has a fulfilling career in her ideal profession and earns far more than she would have been able to with just her LLB.
Interviewers had doubts about my choice to put my career on hold to earn my LLM. I was confident in my skills despite this. I don’t regret anything I did to get the degree I wanted and the job I’m enjoying now,” she stated.
Dangda can save and invest roughly 20% of her earnings since she has no consumer debt, a practice that is highly recommended for millennials who are concerned about their long-term financial stability. Dangda’s savvy financial management doesn’t stop with savings; she also puts aside a generous 30% of her income to fund her favourite hobby: travel. Her wanderlust has taken her on spontaneous trips to exotic locations like Cambodia, where she has stayed in luxurious five-star hotels and resorts.
Dangda is conscious of the societal constraints surrounding marriage and motherhood, despite her jet-set lifestyle. She emphasises, “I’m not against marriage or children. But it should expand, not limit, my way of life. For women in particular, marriage might mean giving up independence and opportunities.
Dangda’s story is an interesting look at a young, driven South African professional finding success in a new country. Our South African readers would do well to learn from her example as they consider chances abroad. Dangda’s life demonstrates that it is possible to achieve professional success, personal passions, and lifestyle choices on one’s terms despite cultural and societal restrictions. What would she say to other young working professionals? “Work hard, believe in your qualifications, maintain your financial independence, and don’t be afraid to pursue your passions – even if they don’t align with societal expectations.”
About The Author:
Lunga Dlamini is a journalist specialising in African start-ups and entrepreneurship. Lunga’s fascination with innovative business models and emerging market trends guides his writing. He has an MBA and has been with Africa Nova since its inception.