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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

Statement following a protest march on the Main Campus
2006-09-07

Statement by UFS management following a protest march on the Main Campus

A protest march by a small number of SASCO members took place at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Main Campus in Bloemfontein today (Wednesday 6 September 2006).

At the end of the protest march a memorandum was handed to the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Natie Luyt.

The UFS Management remains committed to provide quality education to all students at the UFS. The management is also committed to the transformation of the campus and to creating a non-racial, multilingual and multicultural student life.

It must be remembered that certain processes are already in place to address some of the issues raised, such as a Transformation Plan Task Team, which is in the process of drafting a comprehensive transformation plan for the UFS.

Discussions are also already taking place between management and student structures, including SASCO, about certain issues raised in the memorandum.

However, the management will respond to the memorandum using the appropriate channels that exist on campus to communicate with all student formations, including SASCO.

The UFS management wishes to thank the SASCO members for the peaceful and non-violent way in which the protest march was conducted and for which the management had granted SASCO permission.

The UFS management appeals to SASCO to make use of the channels that exist to address the concerns of their members and find workable solutions in the interest of a quality university and quality student life.

Media release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Cell: 072 207 8334
6 September 2006

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