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27 August 2018 Photo Sonia Small
Prof Thuli Madonsela persuades women to pursue their purpose
Discovering that she was “pretty” for her purpose gave Prof-Adv Thuli Madonsela’s life direction.

What does embracing womanhood mean? For Prof Thuli Madonsela it is about loving yourself and whatever you believe is your purpose in life. 

“All of us are designed for our purpose and are fit for our purpose, you should embrace that and make the best of it,” said South Africa’s former Public Protector in her keynote address to the Women’s Breakfast. In commemoration of Women’s Month, the University of the Free State (UFS)’s Employee Wellness Division hosted the annual event on 21 August 2018 where 900 women gathered under the theme: ‘Embrace your womanhood.’ 

Being a woman today


Law Professor and Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University, Prof Madonsela, urged the audience to look beyond the exterior and recognise “that we as individuals have a lot in common”. Speaking of unity in diversity, she praised some of the giants on whose shoulders modern women stand, such as Charlotte Maxeke, Olive Schreiner, Una Wookey, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Helen Joseph, Pam Golding, Bessie Head, and Ellen Khuzwayo.

These leaders are the epitome of following the purpose of “embracing everyone’s humanity and challenging things that diminish the humanity of others”, according to Prof Madonsela.

Remaining resilient and resolute 

Despite having to contend with a patriarchal system and face challenges such as gender-based violence, femicide, poverty, inequity, media stereotypes, as well as poverty, women continue to rise. Prof Madonsela called for women to capitalise on positives such as freedom and possessing a certain degree of power, legal equality, playing a role in political spaces, economic progress, and owning a public voice.

Drawing inspiration from her humble beginnings and the lessons learnt in leadership, Prof Madonsela conveyed a simple message to all women: “You are exactly as you should be. You are a perfect expression of your creator’s magnificence. You were created for a purpose and whatever you do, just step up and pursue your purpose.”

A word from an inspired woman

It was a memorable event for Burneline Kaars, Head of Employee Wellness. “This year it was an honour to host Prof Madonsela who could share both her academic background and professional experience. She accomplished this by skilfully incorporating lessons from our country’s history and her passion for justice,” she said.

News Archive

Prof Loyiso Jita appointed as UFS Dean of Education
2017-11-22

 Description: Prof Melanie Walker, Research chair into Higher Education gets boost for five more years Tags: Prof Melanie Walker, Research chair into Higher Education gets boost for five more years

Prof Loyiso Jita, UFS Dean of Education
Photo: Johan Roux

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has approved the appointment of Prof Loyiso Jita as Dean of Education during its quarterly meeting held on the Bloemfontein Campus on 17 November 2017.

“Prof Jita has a strong academic background and a good understanding of the higher-education sector. I look forward to working with him and to realise the vision of the university as a research-led, student-centred and regionally engaged university that contributes to development and social justice through the production of globally competitive graduates and knowledge,” says Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

“It is indeed a privilege for me to lead a team of committed teachers and researchers in the faculty, providing excellent service to our undergraduate and postgraduate students. I thank the Council and executive management for their trust in me,” says Prof Jita.

In January 2017, Prof Jita was appointed as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education at the UFS. He will assume the position of Dean of the Faculty of Education on 1 December 2017.

Prof Jita began his career as a Science and Mathematics teacher, after graduating from Wits University in 1988. He later took up a lectureship position at the University of Zululand, where he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to read for a PhD at Michigan State University in the USA. In the mid-1990s, he worked as a policy researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he, among others, helped to compile the submission on the Violation of Educational Rights of South Africans during apartheid, to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

He joined the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2001, after returning from a post-doctoral fellowship at the Northwestern University in Chicago, and was later appointed Director of the Joint Centre for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (JCSMTE). He left the UP in 2008 for an appointment as an associate professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa), where he later became the inaugural Director of the School of Education. In 2011, he became a full professor and was appointed as the acting Deputy Executive Dean in the College of Human Sciences at Unisa.

In 2012, he joined the UFS as Research Professor in the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology Education. In November 2014, he was appointed as the SANRAL Chair for Science and Mathematics Education. Professor Jita has published many articles on instructional leadership, teacher development and change, Science and Mathematics education, and has presented over 50 papers at local and international conferences. He has also supervised to completion more than 37 master’s and PhD graduates, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the accredited journal, Perspectives in Education (PIE).

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