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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

UFS forms International Advisory Council
2010-11-09

The University of the Free State (UFS) has established an International Advisory Council (IAC) to advise the leadership of the university on its future positioning strategies, especially in relation to its international ambitions as a place of scholarship and service among the leading universities in the world.

The Council, constituted by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, consists of nine high-profile international experts with proven expertise, leadership, influence and experience.

“Since the appointment of Prof. Jansen, the leadership of the university has been revising and aligning several functions as part of a thrust to position the institution to meet 21st century national, regional and international challenges,” says Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director of International Affairs at the UFS.

The appointment of the IAC is one of the strategies to advise and guide the UFS during the next phase of development and growth.

The university is fortunate to have attracted council members from various spheres of influence who can provide strategic guidance and bring cutting-edge expertise to bear on the policies, strategies and actions plans of the UFS. Among them are Prof. Brenda Gourley, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Natal (now UKZN); Mr Gert Grobler, SA Ambassador to Japan; and Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ncquka, Former Deputy-President of South Africa, and Executive Chairperson of the Umlambo Foundation.

The first meeting of the Council will take place from 10-13 November 2010. During this meeting the Council will advise the university leadership on the positioning of the UFS in a global knowledge economy; research excellence; excellence in the scholarship of teaching and learning; student engagement and transformation; and other strategic programmes of focus, including engaged scholarship.

The other Council members are:

- Prof. Joel Samoff: Professor of African Studies, Stanford University, USA (Chairperson)
- Prof Luc D’Haese: Chairperson: University International Committee and Advisor to the Rector, University of Antwerp, Belgium
- Prof. Masafumi Nagao: United Nations University and International Christian University, Japan
- Dr Uri Ofir: International Entrepreneur and Business Development Specialist, Scientech Inc., Switzerland
- Prof. Alice Pell: Vice-Provost International Affairs, Cornell University, USA
- Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr: Former Secretary-General, Association of African Universities (AAU), Ghana

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za
8 November 2010

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