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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

Help to rural women to become entrepreneurs
2006-10-24

Some of the guests who attended the ceremony were, from the left: Mr Donray Malabie (Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust), Ms Jemina Mokgosi (one of the ladies from Tabane Village who is participating in the Women in Agriculture project), Dr Limakatso Moorosi (Head: Veterinary Services, Free State Department of Agriculture), Prof Johan Greyling (Head: UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences) and Ms Khoboso Lehloenya (coordinator of the project from UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences). Photo: Leonie Bolleurs\

Alexander Forbes and UFS help rural women to become entrepreneurs
 
Today, the Alexander Forbes Community Trust and the University of the Free State (UFS) joined forces to create an enabling environment for rural women to become players in the private sector.

Three years ago the UFS set up a unique small-scale household egg production project called Women in Agriculture in Thaba ‘Nchu as a pilot project. The project was officially launched today by Mr Donray Malabie, Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust.

The aim of the Women in Agriculture Project is to create jobs, provide food security and to help develop rural women into entrepreneurs. A total of 25 women based in Tabane Village in Thaba ‘Nchu are the beneficiaries of the project.

“This is the first project in the Free State the Alexander Forbes Community Trust is involved with.  The project would help rural women acquire the skills they need to run their own egg-production business from their homes,” said Mr Malabie. 

“The ongoing debate on the shortage of skills ignores the fact that people with little or no education at all also need training. This project is special to the Trust as it provides for the creation of sustainable jobs, food security and the transfer of much needed skills all at once, particularly at this level,” he said.

Every woman in the group started with two small mobile cages that housed 12 hens each. The units are low in cost, and made of commercially available welded mesh and a metal frame. Now, each woman has four cages with 48 hens. The group manages to collectively produce 750 eggs daily.

The eggs are currently sold to local businesses, including spaza shops and the women are using the income generated to look after their families and to further develop their business.

The Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS identified the project and did the initial research into the feasibility of setting up such a project.

“A demonstration and training unit has been established at the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre and the women attended a short practical training course. Subsidies are provided for feeding, together with all the material and the lay hens necessary for the start of the business,” said Ms Khoboso Lehloenya, coordinator of the project from the Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS. 

“The advantage in using lay hens is that they are resistant to diseases and the women will not need electric heating systems for the egg production,” said Ms Lehloenya. 

According to Ms Lehloenya, the women are already benefiting from their egg production businesses.  “Some of them have used the profit to buy school uniforms and tracksuits for their children and others are now able to make a monthly contribution to their household expenses,” said Ms Lehloenya. 
“In South Africa, possibly due to cultural reasons and circumstances, most black people prefer to eat older and tougher chickens, compared to younger soft commercially available broiler chickens. This preference creates a further advantage for the women. At the end of their production cycle, old hens can be sold for a higher price than point-of-lay or young hens. This brings in further money to pay for more hens,” said Ms Lehloenya.

The Alexander Forbes Trust contributed R191 000 towards the project aimed at expanding it to benefit 15 more women.

“We are in the process of recruiting an additional 15 women in Thaba ‘Nchu who will be trained by the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre in order to replicate the model and extend its reach”, said Ms Lehloenya.

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

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