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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

Three of UFS Unit for Language Management to international congress
2006-06-12

Three members of the University of the Free State's (UFS) Unit for Language Management (ULM), namely Prof Theo du Plessis (Director of the ULM), Prof Johan Lubbe (Research Associate of the ULM) and Dr Elbie Truter (Research Associate of the ULM), will be attending the Tenth International Congress of the International Academy of Linguistic Law at the University of Galway, Ireland, from 14-17 June 2006. 

This year, the theme of the congress will be “Language Law and Language Rights: The Challenges of Enactment and Implementation”.  More than 100 persons will deliver papers at this congress, which enjoys prominent status world-wide.  The UFS colleagues are all members of the International Academy of Linguistic Law, and will deliver papers offering perspectives on language regulation within the South African context. 

Other South Africans who will also be participating, and with whom the ULM has close professional relationships, are Dr Karel Prinsloo (editor of the well-known journal 50 Plus) and Mr Edward Sambo of the Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb).  The ULM’s participation in the congress is the result of a long-term research project, namely, the South African Language Rights Monitor, which was launched three years ago in partnership with Pansalb, and which is also financed by that organisation.


Prof Theo du Plessis
(Director of the UFS Unit for Language Management)

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