USB Executive Development (USB-ED) recently presented a programme sponsorship to the Thuma Foundation, currently being established by the former Public Protector of South Africa, Advocate Thuli Madonsela.

The establishment of the foundation was announced in Cape Town in January this year by adv. Madonsela as a non-partisan, operational private foundation, to operate as the Thuma Foundation.

The foundation seeks to develop leadership for democracy, development and peace, focusing on a leadership approach that is ethical, purposeful, impactful and committed to service.

The sponsorship, in the form of a USB-ED leadership programme that can be attended by someone from the Thuma Foundation, was handed over by Dr Tienie Ehlers, USB-ED Chief Learning Officer, at a breakfast meeting presented by the local Stellenbosch newspaper Eikestadnuus and Business Partners at the Neethlingshof Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch on Wednesday, 15 March 2017.

USB-ED, a private company of the University of Stellenbosch, presents leadership and management development programmes for the private and public sectors, as well as for individuals intent on carving their own future in business.

As guest speaker at the event, adv. Madonsela said academic institutions have always played an important role in advancing social justice. Academic institutions, such as Stellenbosch University where she will take up a chair next year, have the opportunity to lead the advancement of social justice through researching, for instance poverty and inequality.

“Academic institutions have a unique opportunity to research for example what form inequality takes and what factors exacerbate it.”

The implementation of the Equality Act could be aided by academic institutions who can apply their research and in doing so advance social justice. Government’s failure to plan how to eradicate the persistence of inequality, has however lead to sporadic social movements where people who feel disempowered stand up and try to do things on their own.

“An example of this is the Fees Must Fall movement, which a number of Maties were also involved in. Protests often become violent, because that is the language of the disempowered. The more extreme the disempowerment, the more likely we are to get violence.”​

Adv. Madonsela said the best way forward would be for academic institutions and social interventions to work with people in order to find routes through which their grievances can be addressed and protest can happen in a more peaceful manner.

Dr Ehlers said: “We are truly proud and honoured to present this sponsorship to the Thuma Foundation as it is strategically well aligned with our vision of developing leadership in Africa.

“Advocate Madonsela’s Foundation is focused on developing leadership among our youth and hence why we have offered her foundation a sponsorship for someone of her choice to attend one of our flagship leadership courses.

“In this way we support the Thuma Foundation through allowing someone to develop their leadership skills and contribute to a democratic and peaceful South Africa. We have full confidence in the Thuma Foundation as it is led by a true South African leader that epitomizes what leadership is all about.

“Advocate Thuli Madonsela is a living of example of what true leadership is – leading from the front through her hands, head and heart,” Dr Ehlers said.

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