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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

Strydom helps establish SA in international clarinet arena
2016-06-07

Description: Danré Strydom Tags: Danré Strydom

Danré Strydom, clarinet lecturer in
the Odeion School of Music at the
University of the Free State, was
named national chairperson to
represent South Africa in the
International Clarinet Association.
Photo: Odeion School of Music.

Her appointment holds international benefits not only for the University of the Free State (UFS), but also for the rest of South Africa’s clarinet community.

This is the view of Danré Strydom, clarinet lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the UFS, on her appointment as South African chairperson of the International Clarinet Association in Columbus (Ohio), America.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the OSM, with Strydom at the helm as Buffet artist, will present an international clarinet festival on the Bloemfontein Campus from 4 to 8 October 2016. During the International Clarinet Extravaganza, a first for South Africa, world-renowned clarinet players like Eddy Vanoosthuyse of Belgium, Marco Mazinni of Peru, and Sun Zhen of China, will perform.

More contact with overseas representatives
“South Africa’s clarinet community is fairly distanced from the rest of the world,” says Strydom. “In places like Europe and the USA, it is easy to attend a variety of masterclasses, research opportunities, and clarinet festivals.” Her appointment means that she will have more contact with representatives from other countries. “It is also important for composers from South Africa to have their work performed beyond our borders.”

The purpose of the International Clarinet Association is to support projects that benefit clarinet players. She also writes for the association’s journal.

Strydom, who is completing her PhD this year, was honoured some seven months ago with the elite international accomplishment of Buffet artist. She is the first South African to represent Buffet-Crampon.

Clarinet festival offers additional opportunities
Strydom says the clarinet festival hosted by the UFS is “a wonderful opportunity to put the UFS, OSM, and South Africa on the map for clarinet performance, education, and research.”

The purpose of the festival is to expose South African clarinettists and educators to international trends, and to learn from the best in the world. “The festival will prove that the current education, compositional techniques, standard of players, and the quality at academic institutions can compete with the rest of the world. I also believe it will provide opportunities for students to connect with international players and, in that way, open doors for possible postgraduate studies or concert opportunities overseas.”

Watch videos of Strydom:
Video 1
Video 2

Click here to watch other videos of the OSM.


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