Women’s Leadership As Inspired By Thuli Madonsela

SPEAKING at a breakfast meeting in Windhoek last week, South Africa’s trailblazing public prosecutor, Thuli Madonsela urged women to uphold integrity and employ courage when serving.

At the same time, she encouraged women to be bold and take up leadership roles whenever possible.

“There is a leader in all of us, all we need to do is find that leader and unleash him or her.” She further added that everyone has a calling to lead, regardless of age, sex or circumstances.

A beacon of hope and motivation for many Africans, aocate Madonsela has energised the South African Public Prosecutors’ office, which she has headed over the past three years. She comes from a successful academic background which boasts a BA in Law from the University of Swaziland, an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand as well as a Doctorate of Law, LL.D (Honoris causa) from the University of Stellenbosch. These achievements came despite humble beginnings and a childhood filled with bullying and feeling a constant struggle to fit in which she eventually overcame as she grew older. As successful as she has been, her time at the helm of the Public Prosecutors’ office has gained her much recognition, including a spot in the 2014 Time magazine’s most influential people’s list.

Organised by Omayambeko Media and Events, the business breakfast was part of a day long list of activities which also included a one day Servant Leadership Seminar where Madonsela presented the keynote address titled ‘Integrity in Public Service’.

Asked about the secret to her famous composure and serenity under pressure, Madonsela admitted that this has not always been the case. “The key to effective influence is to respond rather than react, reacting is partly an issue of our psychological well-being… Try not to take it personally because people undermine, belittle, etc, when they feel fear or when they feel threatened.”

One of her triggers to reacting, on the few occasions that she does, is hunger, she noted with a chuckle. “When I react, it’s often when I didn’t eat.” She adds that having a spiritual take on life helps in finding peace with people and she realises that forgiving others as you forgive yourself is crucial for any type of healing.

Giving narratives on women in history who were known to be very good leaders, but declined to take up titles, Madonsela called on an end to this. “Something I’ve discovered about women is that we don’t seek a title but prefer to just serve. Women tend to step up when a service is required and this is when a woman’s characteristics are both a weakness and strength in leadership.” She called for a push in women’s empowerment but cautioned that this empowerment should go hand-in-hand with empowerment for men as well, so that no one falls back in society.

CEO of Omayambeko Media and Events, Mia Davids, expressed her joy at having such an inspiring leader talk at the event and reiterated the need for more discussions on women in leadership. “We believe it is the right time in Namibia to speak about these things and open up a platform to say that we as women in Namibia can do it.”

Source : The Namibian