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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 Leads ASGISA Training
2006-07-17

The University of the Free State (UFS) has been appointed as training service provider for the national programme for the creation of small enterprises and jobs in the second economy. This major national programme has a target of creating one million jobs for poor people in rural and peri-urban areas, which forms part of the government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI-SA). The main method of training will be through the formation of self-help groups and cooperatives with access to business support and micro finance.

Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of the UFS Research Development Directorate, acts as advisor to the national programme leader, Ms Vuyo Mahlati.  Dr Aldo Stroebel, senior researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate, has been appointed as programme co-ordinator, based at the UFS. Prof Basie Wessels, Director of the  Mangaung-University Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP), has been appointed as the training co-ordinator and Ms Sazini Ndlovu as programme assistant based at the Independent Development Trust (IDT) in Pretoria.

Dr Stroebel has co-ordinated the development of a training programme, while Prof Wessels presented the “training-of-trainers” course at the MUCPP last month. This course was attended by trainers and trainer-assistants, identified and selected by the local economic development groups in each of the nine provinces, as well as trainers from Hand-in-Hand (HiH), an Indian non-governmental organisation acting as counterpart to the UFS in the provision of training.

Pictured here at the training session at the MUCPP were from the left: Prof Frans Swanepoel, Mr Gnanavel Mookkan (HiH), Dr Rendani Ralinala (IDT), Ms Sazini Ndlovu (national programme assistant), Mr Chinnaiah Meenakshisundaram (HiH), Dr Aldo Stroebel, Ms Vuyo Mahlati (national programme leader) and Prof Basie Wessels.

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