Women’s month

Celebrating women in history and those making history


Thuli Madonsela South Africa’s courageous public protector since 2009, Madonsela has stood firm as she fulfils her mandate to strengthen constitutional democracy and promote good governance. Her work ethic and dedication to truth has brought credibility back to her office after it was tainted by the Oilgate scandal during the tenure of the previous incumbent, Lawrence Mushwana.

Madonsela has been involved in community and social justice issues since the 1980s and in her early career was a teacher and union organiser. As a human rights lawyer and expert on equality and policy, she was part of the team that drafted the country’s constitution in 1996. She gave up a scholarship at Harvard to do this.

Madonsela helped draw up many statutes enacted since 1994 and was the co-architect of the policy framework that formed the basis of the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities. She has written extensively and her achievements include co-authoring the bench book for equality courts and a handbook on family law.

The Press Club last year named Madonsela Newsmaker of the Year. She was in the headlines when she was threatened with arrest after investigating the police for maladministration.

Madonsela is also involved in international human rights work, participating in delegations to conferences abroad and the drafting of country reports.


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