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10 September 2020 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Sonia du Toit (Kaleidoscope Studio)
Dr Maria Madiope

Everywhere you look, our colleagues at the UFS are stepping up and stepping into the new digital space. With the move to virtual events, staff members at the university are able to participate in discussions and webinars across the continent at various other institutions of higher learning. 

One such virtual event recently took place for Women’s Month. The Tshwane University of Technology hosted the Annual Adelaide Tambo Memorial Lecture on 27 August. The theme was Is the face of the boardroom in global organisations changing women representation in influential positions?

Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women, focused in her presentation on themes regarding girls’ education and women’s health, both of which have been threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the respondent, Dr Maria Madiope, Principal of the UFS South Campus, dealt with the patriarchal domination and violence that modern women and girls endure, as well as the way “their sexuality and aptitude is disrespected and how they are subjugated and side-lined in the political, corporate, social, and cultural arena.” She said that it is incumbent on the modern generation of women to reignite the flame that fuelled the struggle for feminine recognition and equality. “We are beholden not only to the legacy of those that came before us, but also to the eager eyes that look up to us,” she concluded. 

Dr Madiope also announced her support for Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka’s Generation Equality campaign against gender-based violence, and she echoed the sentiments of the rallying hashtag #JustChair, which breaks down discrimination based on the use of gendered terms such as ‘chairman’ for the leader of a meeting or corporation.

Dr Adelaide Tambo’s life was characterised by a love of knowledge, as she believed that people need as much power to be able to handle challenges facing the country, the continent, and the planet. She strove for the emancipation of women in general, focusing on the importance of education and how it can improve a woman’s life, and encouraged a strong culture of learning.

The event was livestreamed on Facebook and Zoom; go to https://www.facebook.com/805899996152814/videos/1036964343420927 to watch the full presentation.

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