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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

Three netball players in USSA Dream Team
2016-07-26

Description: UFS netball team Tags: UFS netball team

Alicia Puren and the UFS netball team lost 43-44 against
the Pukke in the USSA semi-finals in Cape Town.
Photo: Johan Roux

Although they could not improve on 2015’s second place, the Kovsies were still rewarded. After the USSA tournament, held from 4 to 8 July 2016 in Cape Town, three netball players from the University of the Free State (UFS) were included in the Dream Team. They were the captain Tanya Mostert, vice-captain Khomotso Mamburu, and Alicia Puren.

Mostert and her team had to settle for third place, after losing narrowly to Pukke 43-44 in a semi-final. They beat Maties 45-42 to win the bronze medal. Earlier, they had outplayed the University of Johannesburg (64-38) and Pukke (59-40), but lost against Tuks 48-49.

Women’s hockey team finish fourth

The UFS women’s hockey team had to settle for the fourth place at the USSA tournament in Johannesburg after they lost to Maties 2-4 in the match for the third place.

The UFS men’s team was sixth overall in the City of Gold.

Shimlas suffer several narrow defeats

After a number of narrow defeats, the Shimlas unfortunately only managed one USSA victory in East London, ending fifth overall. They lost against Maties (29-31) and Pukke (29-31), but beat Ikeys (25-0).

UFS squash team won B Division

Maryke Coetzee from Kovsies won the individual competition in the women’s B Division at the USSA squash tournament in Stellenbosch. The UFS was the overall winner in Division B.

The Kovsie women’s basketball team finished sixth at the USSA tournament in Johannesburg, with the men in the 13th place.

  • The UFS did not send badminton and volleyball teams, as planned, to Stellenbosch and Pretoria, respectively.

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