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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

Kovsies reaped the badminton medals
2006-07-07

STUDENTS of the University of the Free State reaped the badminton medals during the 4th FASU Games (organised every two years by the African University Sports Federation) currently held in the City of Tshwane.  Nearly 2000 students from about 22 countries participate in the 11 designated sports, which are, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Chess, Football, Judo, Karate, Netball, Table Tennis, Tennis, and Volleyball.  This makes FASU Games the second largest international athletic event in the continent after the All Africa Games.  The FASU Games is one of the most important
international multi-sports gatherings in the continent.

Chris Dednam, Olympic player of Kovsies, earned a hat-trick of three individual gold medals.  His team mates, Raymond Ronne (one gold and two silver) and Liansa Coetzee (one gold and two bronze) supported him well to show that the continent has no better badminton players than Kovsies.  Some of the Kovsies' strongest players have actually withdrawn from the games because students had to finance themselves.

The South African (SASSU) badminton team also conquered gold in the team competition.  They made a clean sweep with victories of 5-0 over the students of respectively Ghana, Uganda en Zambia.

Results of the finals in the individual badminton championships:
Men's-singles - Chris Dednam (SASSU) beat Raymond Ronne (SASSU) 21-8, 21-7; Women's-singles - Kerry-Lee Harrington (SASSU) b Christina English (SASSU) 21-14, 15-21, 21-18; Men's-doubles - Chris Dednam/Raymond Ronne (SASSU) b André van Schalkwyk/Benjamin Smith (SASSU) 21-8, 21-6; Women's-doubles - Liansa Coetzee/Sarah Rice (SASSU) b Kerry-Lee Harrington/Christina English (SASSU) 21-19, 12-21, 22-20; Mixed doubles - Chris Dednam/Christina English (SASSU) b Raymond Ronne/Kerry-Lee Harrington (SASSU) 24-22, 21-11.

       Chris Dednam

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