Professor Thuli Madonsela, Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Law

It`s been such an honour to have Prof Madonsela on our panel of judges since the very beginning. Now in her seventh year as a judge, she is excited to meet the next batch of entrepreneurs. ‘Some jobs require you to have a degree, but to be an entrepreneur you need an idea, passion and hard work,’ she says.

Professor Madonsela is best known for her work as South Africa’s Public Protector, a title she held with utmost integrity for seven years. She’s received several accolades, including being named one of TIME magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ in 2014 and Forbes Africa’s Person of the Year in 2016; and in 2018 she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and appointed as Knight of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration. Her public image was cemented with the award-winning film Whispering Truth to Power, which documented her final year as Public Protector.

She is the Law Trust Chair of Social Justice at Stellenbosch University’s Law Faculty; founder of the Thuma Foundation, a democracy leadership and literacy public benefit organisation; and convenor of the Social Justice M-Plan, a Marshall Plan-like initiative aimed at catalysing progress towards ending poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. She has also co-authored a children’s book called Melo’s Kingdom.

It’s often an entrepreneur thinking outside the box who contributes to solving society’s problems. ‘We can see it with past winners like Sarah Collins,’ Thuli says. ‘She saw that women in rural areas didn’t have access to electricity and created the Wonderbag, developed to cook food without electricity.

Prof Thuli Madonsela knows that, win or lose, platform such as Women of the Future are valuable to entrepreneurs. ‘Just being part of this journey changes your life.’

WHAT PROF MADONSELA WILL BE LOOKING FOR: She will be looking out for a woman who’s building a world they want to live in. They also need to be looking to the future, and the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.