New chal­lenge for Thuli

Madon­sela aims to con­quer moun­tains to raise funds for dis­ad­van­taged girls

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - BULELWA PAYI

NOT afraid of a chal­lenge, for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Pro­fes­sor Thuli Madon­sela has a new moun­tain to climb. The aca­demic has com­mit­ted to con­quer Mount Kil­i­man­jaro next year in sup­port of ef­forts to raise funds for dis­ad­van­taged girls.

The an­nounce­ment was made at Man­don­sela’s 56th birth­day din­ner, or­gan­ised on Fri­day by the Im­bumba Foun­da­tion, where friends, aca­demics and hu­man rights ac­tivists joined her to cel­e­brate the mile­stones she has achieved.

Madon­sela will join a group that will sum­mit the high­est peak in Africa on Hu­man Rights Day next year. Trek4­Man­dela will host two climbs again, the other on Man­dela Day on July 18.

The ini­tia­tive is in sup­port of rais­ing funds and cre­at­ing an aware­ness of the im­por­tance of keep­ing girls in school dur­ing their men­strual cy­cle as many have to miss classes be­cause of a lack of san­i­tary pads.

Guests were told the din­ner was to hon­our Madon­sela who was “hardly cel­e­brated” de­spite her re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tions.

Hu­man rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist Cather­ine Con­stan­tinides said: “When I feel over­whelmed by my work I look up to her and I dip into her amaz­ing self­less lead­er­ship, the le­gacy she has built and con­tin­ues to (build), and I draw strength.

“We of­ten for­get to cel­e­brate peo­ple while they are with us. Thuli al­ways re­minds us about the val­ues of hu­man­ity, of ubuntu. In­deed, she has taught us that by light­ing the life of oth­ers you don’t di­min­ish yours. We need that in our na­tion.”

A for­mer col­league at the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s of­fice, Bonginkosi Dlamini, de­scribed how Madon­sela de­voted her­self to her pur­suit of so­cial jus­tice.

“Madon­sela was an un­der­ground Umkhonto weSizwe cadre. So those who crit­i­cised her for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into state cap­ture should have known that all her life was shaped by her com­mit­ment to de­fend­ing hu­man rights and fight­ing any­thing that threat­ens so­cial jus­tice. She has al­ways be­lieved in a bet­ter coun­try for this gen­er­a­tion and fu­ture ones.”

Ad­vo­cate Xolo Mad­uma de­scribed the “strong, fierce le­gal ea­gle” as a shy per­son whose val­ues even shaped the be­hav­iour of oth­ers.

“You can for­get about mak­ing nasty jokes in her pres­ence be­cause you will be given a lec­ture about how prej­u­dices shape per­cep­tions and lead to ha­tred.

“She’s al­ways bal­anc­ing facts and ev­i­dence on the scale so even if you are a friend she won’t be swayed by that in her de­ci­sions”.

Madon­sela was also de­scribed as a “dot­ing gran” to her 6-month-old grand­daugh­ter for whom she had bought books al­ready.

In sup­port of her hu­man rights ad­vo­cacy work, guests do­nated san­i­tary tow­els for un­der­priv­i­leged girls and non-per­ish­able food for a drive or­gan­ised by the Univer­sity of Stel­len­bosch. Those wish­ing to join the Kil­i­man­jaro trek can email: nkateko@ im­bum­bafoun­da­


THULI Madon­sela with her daugh­ter, Wen­zile Madon­sela, at her birth­day party on Fri­day. |

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