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Thuli Madonsela

Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa (2009-16); incoming Chair in Social Justice, Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University

Thuli Madonsela is a South African advocate, a human rights lawyer, an equality expert, and a former Public Protector of South Africa. She is currently on a year's Fellowship at Harvard University, focusing on social justice, reducing poverty and equality while fostering social cohesion. She is set to become chairperson in social justice at Stellenbosch University in 2018. Ms. Madonsela began her career as a teacher before moving onto working with trade unions. She served as the Independent Electoral Commission's presiding officer and went onto being appointed as one of 11 technical experts to help draft the new constitution of South Africa put forward by then-President Nelson Mandela. She then worked for a variety of parastatal bodies and trusts before becoming a director at the Waweth Law and Policy Research Agency. She was appointed as a full-time member of the South African Law Reform Commission in 2007 by then-President Thabo Mbeki. She served as Public Protector of South Africa from October 2009 to October 2016. During this time, Ms. Madonsela became widely known as a fearless anti-corruption official. She investigated kickbacks received by prominent figures, and complaints regarding public spending on President Jacob Zuma's private homestead. In 2016, she was included in the BBC's "100 Women" list and was acknowledged for fighting maladministration and corruption in the exercise of state power and control over public resources. In the same year, she received the Forbes Africa Person of the Year Award becoming the first South African to do so. Ms. Madonsela is an advocate for gender equality and a member of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) and the Business Women's Association of South Africa (BWASA). Ms. Madonsela graduated with a B.A. in Law from the University of Swaziland, and an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has also received four honorary degrees, which have come from the University of Cape Town, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Fort Hare.