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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

King Moshoeshoe comes alive on national television
2004-11-02

Honourable Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili, Prime Minister of Lesotho, and his wife; King Letsie III of Lesotho and Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector: Student Affairs at the UFS during the première of the film at the Royal Palace in Lesotho

The ground-breaking documentary film on the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe, the founder of the Basotho nation, will come alive on Thursday 4 November 2004 when it is screened on SABC2 at 21:00

The film, called Moshoeshoe: The Renaissance King, forms part of a larger project by the University of the Free State (UFS) to honour the Moshoeshoe legacy of nation-building and reconciliation and to explore his role as a model of African leadership. It was produced by the well-known journalist Mr Max du Preez and commissioned by the UFS as part of its centenary celebrations.

The SABC2 screening was preceded by a première in Bloemfontein last month, and was attended by provincial political leaders.

This past weekend there was a première at the Royal Palace in Lesotho, which was attended by King Letsie III, the prime minister, the chief justice, judges, the president of the senate, cabinet ministers and directors-general.

“Through this documentary film the UFS commits itself to developing a shared appreciation of the history of this country and to the establishment of the Free State Province as a model of reconciliation and nation-building. King Moshoeshoe is also a strong common element, and binding factor, in the relationship between South Africa/the Free State, and its neighbour, Lesotho,” said Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“Not all people in South Africa know the history of Moshoeshoe. Many Basotho – but not all – are well versed in the history of Moshoeshoe, and his name is honoured in many a street, town and township. Many white people know little of him, or have a very constrained or even biased view of his role and legacy. In Africa and the world, he is much less known than, for instance, Shaka,” said Prof Fourie.

“King Moshoeshoe did a remarkable thing in forging a new nation out of a fragmented society. He also created a remarkable spirit of reconciliation and a remarkable spirit of leadership,” said Prof Fourie.

According to Prof Fourie we already benefit from his legacy: the people of the Free State share a tradition of moderation and reconciliation rather than one of aggression and domination. “For the UFS this is also part of real transformation – of creating a new unity amidst our diversity,” said Prof Fourie.

“We also find in the legacy of King Moshoeshoe the possibility of a “founding philosophy”, or “defining philosophy”, for the African renaissance. To develop this philosophy, we must gain a deeper understanding of what really happened there, of his role, of his leadership. Therefore the UFS will encourage and support further research into the history, politics and sociology of the Moshoeshoe period, including his leadership style,” said Prof Fourie.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
2 November 2004

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