Professor Thulisile “Thuli” Madonsela is a Law Faculty Trust Chair for Social Justice and Law Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law. She is also the founder of the Thuma Foundation, an independent democracy leadership and literacy social enterprise. An Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, Prof. Madonsela has been a lifelong activist on social justice, constitutionalism, human rights, good governance and the rule of law.
Named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2014 and Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2016, Thuli is one of the drafters of South Africa’s Constitution and co-architect of several laws that have sought to anchor South Africa’s democracy. These include the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, the Employment Equity Act and the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act.
She recently completed a seven-year term as South Africa’s Public Protector, a quasi-judicial administrative oversight body responsible for investigating and redressing maladministration, corruption, executive ethic violations and related improprieties in state affairs. Before she became the Public Protector, Thuli served in various leadership capacities in civil society and government, including the position of Full-Time Commissioner in the South African Law Reform Commission. She is equally a co-architect and Founding Chairperson of the African Ombudsman Research Centre, as well as co-founder and one of the inaugural leaders of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA).
Thuli Madonsela has a global reputation for integrity and fearlessness in enforcing accountability and justice in the exercise of public power and the use of public resources. She also has a history of highlighting the importance of social justice and general inclusive enjoyment of the fruits of democracy in the pursuit of peace.
Her work has received national and global recognition, including several Lifetime Achievement Awards, including an award by the Premier of Gauteng in 2018. She has five honorary Doctor of Law degrees, from Wits University, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, University of Fort Hare and Rhodes University, with two approved honorary doctorates awaiting a date of conferment. Peer recognition includes the South African Law Society’s Truth and Justice Award, The General Council of the Bar, The Sydney and Felicia Kentridge Award, Honorary Membership of the Botswana Bar and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association’s Truth and Justice Award.