Thulisile Madonsela

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Biographical information

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Date of birth: 
28 September 1962
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Thulisile Madonsela was born in 1962 in Soweto. Her parents, Nomasonto and Bafana were both traders. She obtained a bachelor of Law from the University of Swaziland in 1987 and three years later, an LLB at Wits University. She then started working as an assistant teacher and taught from 1980 to 1983. In 1984 she entered the legal profession as a legal and education officer at the Paper Printing Wood & Allied Workers Union where she would work from 1984 to 1987.

Since 1987, Madonsela has worked in several government departments and civil society including, law lecturer at Wits University, presiding officer at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), deputy director at the Justice Department and managing director at the Office of the Status of Women in the Presidency. Madonsela currently holds three positions; chairperson for the Centre for Reconciliation and Equality Studies, member of the South African Law Reform Commission and the public protector of South Africa.

Madonsela was appointed Public Protector by President Jacob Zuma in 2009 after being recommended by parliament. She got a hundred percent vote by all parties in parliament. She was the only full-time commissioner in the South African law Reform Commission at the time. Of all her achievements and high profile positions that she has held, it is the public protector position that has put her in the public eye. Since her appointment, she has investigated several high profile cases and has received praise for her efficiency and professionalism.

An advocate for Gender equality and the advancement of women, Madonsela is a member of South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) and Business Women’s Association of South Africa (BWASA). In 2012, she was honoured with South Africa’s most Influential Women Award. She has authored and co authored several publications including books, chapter, journals and handbooks on gender management and gender mainstreaming. Madonsela was one of the drafters of South Africa’s current constitution in 1994.

• Public Protector of South Africa Profile of Advocate Thulisile (Thuli) Madonsela: Public Protector-RSA [online] Available at: [Accessed on 4 November 2013]
• Who’s who Thuli Madonsela [online] Available at: [Accessed on 5 November 2013]
Zoom Info MS Thuli N Madonsela [online] Available at: [Accessed on 5 November 2013]

Last updated : 06-Apr-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 22-Nov-2013