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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

RSG Crossword Tournament helps to celebrate language
2016-07-27

Description: RSG Crossword Tournament  Tags: RSG Crossword Tournament

Dr Annette de Wet (left), Assistant Director
of the Unit for Language Development in
the Centre for Teaching and Learning at
the UFS, Albe Grobbelaar from XWord,
Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Head of the
Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German
and French, and Prof Lucius Botes, Dean of the
Faculty of the Humanities, during the launch
of the RSG Crossword Tournament.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

Sometimes it is difficult for language departments to be topical and to show their relevance for the people out there. However, with the RSG Crossword Tournament, this became possible and Afrikaans could be celebrated in a positive manner. This is what Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS), had to say about this initiative.

Interest during the Vrystaat Arts Festival exceeded all expectations. Altogether, 46 participants from across the country participated on 15 and 16 July 2016. Ilse van Hemert from Pretoria was crowned as the first South African crossword champion.

New dimension to language milieu

Prof Van Niekerk said people are familiar with crossword puzzles from the media, and it was the first time that a tournament like this was presented to the public in South Africa. “This tournament brings something like linguistics and linguistic sensitivity to the fore,” she said. “It is another dimension of the language milieu.” This is exactly why her department would like to see it grow in future.

Wordplay serves as inspiration

The idea for the tournament is based loosely on the film, Wordplay (2006), which is set in New York, and the annual New York Times Crossword Tournament. The South African Tournament was presented in conjunction with the crossword group, XWord, Prof Van Niekerk’s department, and the radio station RSG as brand sponsor.

Crossword puzzles and blockbusters crosswords completed

“This tournament brings something like
linguistics and linguistic sensitivity to
the fore.”


Albe Grobbelaar from XWord said the winners were determined on a points basis. “Competitors had to complete two crossword puzzles and one blockbuster crossword. The difference between the two is that a blockbuster’s clues are within the blocks or grid, but with the crossword, you have white and black blocks with the clues separate on the outside.”

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