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Thuli Madonsela – Quiet Courage and Purpose-driven Resolve

As we step into March, and a month that celebrates women across the globe, Teamery will be sharing four profiles of four inspirational women and leaders. These women have been chosen because of their extraordinary contribution and their exemplification of the 2022 IWD focus on #breakthebias.

We start with Thulisile Madonsela. Known as ‘Thuli’, she is a South African barrister and professor of law. Having been instrumental in drafting South Africa’s post -apartheid constitution promulgated by Nelson Mandela, she currently holds a chair in Social Justice at the University of Stellenbosch. Prior to that she became a household name in her tenure as the Public Protector of South Africa from 2009 to 2016. During this time she showed unprecedented courage, composure and resolve in her investigation and reporting on corruption at the highest levels of government. She championed justice and social justice, despite ongoing political pressure and threats to her safety. Purpose-driven, Thuli likened her role to that of a chief paternal aunt in the Venda culture – known as the ‘makhadzi’ – a figure who ‘gives the people a voice while giving the traditional leader a conscience’.

As a single mother of two, a black women in a man’s world, renowned for her softly spoken voice, Thuli broke a number of biases. Her influence and impact was unwavering and thunderous, as she directly challenged President Jacob Zuma in her final ‘State of Capture’ report. Thuli has been hailed around the world, being named one of the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World and in the Forbes African Person of the Year.

Her invitation to women and girls around the world is to be intentional about our contribution - ‘As an African woman I’ve learnt the importance of self-determination and living purposefully. It is vital that every girl determines, as early as possible, who she is and what her contribution to humanity will be’.

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