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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

Chairperson of UFS Council appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal
2016-06-17

Description: Chairperson of UFS Council appointed Tags: Chairperson of UFS Council appointed
Judge Ian van der Merwe

Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council, has been appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal as from 1 July 2016. His appointment, together with that of Judge Connie Mocumie, was announced by the office of President Jacob Zuma last week.

Both judges will act in the Supreme Court of Appeal this month until their appointments come into effect next month.

“The university is excited and proud that its Chairperson of Council has achieved such great heights in the legal profession. Judge Van der Merwe brings enormous calm, deliberation and wisdom to the governance of the institution, and the UFS regards itself as privileged to have a man of his stature in the leadership of Council,” said the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Judge Van der Merwe is an alumnus of the UFS and was elected as Chairperson of the Council on 20 November 2009, and re-elected on 16 November 2012. He was re-elected to serve for a third term on 11 September 2015.

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Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
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