Professor Thuli Madonsela

Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Law

It has been an honour to have Prof Thuli Madonsela on our panel of judges since the very beginning. Currently the Director of the Centre for Social Justice and Law Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law. 

‘Some jobs require you to have a degree, but to be an entrepreneur, you need an idea, passion and hard work,’ she says. Widely respected for her courageous work as South Africa’s Public Protector, a title she held with the utmost integrity for seven years (the award-winning film Whispering Truth to Power documents her final year in the position), she has also received several accolades, including being named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014. In 2018, she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and was appointed as Knight of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration. Thuli is a member of the African Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Scottish WS Society. She is also the founder of the Thuma Foundation, an independent democracy leadership and literacy social enterprise, and convenor of the Social Justice M-Plan, an initiative aimed at catalysing progress towards ending poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. She has also co-authored a children’s book, Melo’s Kingdom. Thuli believes it is often an entrepreneur thinking outside the box who contributes to solving society’s problems. 

WHAT THULI WILL BE LOOKING FOR: ‘I am looking for a woman who is building a just world that she’d want to live in. She also needs to be an environmentally conscious problem solver that is leveraging technology, digitalization and AI to improve current and future life.