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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

Four modernised controlled environment cabinets inaugurated
2006-07-27

Photographed in a controlled environment cabinet were at the back from the left:  Mr Adriaan Hugo (head of the UFS Electronics and Mechanisation Division), Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS) and Prof Koos Terblans (lecturer at the UFS Department of Physics).  In front is Mr Koos Uys (engineering consultant from Experto Designa who helped with the cooling systems of the cabinets).
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Different look for research in controlled circumstances at the UFS  

Research in controlled circumstances at the University of the Free State (UFS) turned a new page today with the inauguration of four modernised controlled environment cabinets of the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences.

“The controlled environment cabinets, which are situated next to the glass houses on the eastern side of the Agriculture Building on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, were installed in the early 1980’s.  The cabinets, used for research purposes in controlled circumstances by the UFS for many years, became dysfunctional and needed to be repaired and put into use again,” said Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS.

“The cabinets are used by the agronomics, horticulture and soil science divisions of the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences to control factors such as the temperature, the intensity and quality of light, synthesis and humidity.  This is done 24 hours a day, with hourly intervals,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

The cabinets are ideally suited to determine the joint and separate effects of these factors on the growth of plants.  The adaptability of plants to climate can also be investigated under controlled circumstances.  All of this leads to a better understanding of the growth and development process of plants, more specifically that of agricultural crops. 

“The effect of these environmental factors on the effectiveness of insect killers such as fungus killers, insecticide and weed killers can also be investigated and can help to explain the damage that is sometimes experienced, or even prevent the damage if the research is timeously,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

A new cabinet can cost between R2-3 million, depending on the degree of sophistication.  “Although controlled environment cabinets have been used for agricultural research for a long time, it has become costly to maintain them     and even more impossible to purchase new ones,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

According to Prof Van Schalkwyk the cabinets were re-built by die UFS Electronics and Mechanisation Division.  Some of the mechanisms were also replaced and computerised.   

“The re-building and mechanisation of the cabinets were funded by the faculty and because the work was done by our own staff, an amount of about R1 million was saved.  The maintenance costs will now be lower as the cabinets are specifically tailor made for our research needs,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

Where all monitoring was done manually in the past, the cabinets can now be controlled with a computer.  This programme was designed by Prof Koos Terblans from the UFS Department of Physics. 

According to Prof Van Schalkwyk the modernisation of the cabinets is part of the faculty’s larger strategy to get its instruments and apparatus up to world standards.  “With this project we have proved that we can find a solution for a problem ourselves and that there are ways to get old apparatus functional again,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
26 July 2006

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