There is currently no woman in South Africa who is more respected and loved than Advocate Thuli Madonsela. As South Africa’s Public Protector, she has earned a reputation for her fierce independence, strong sense of justice, no-nonsense approach to corruption and fearless determination to take on the country’s most powerful leaders.
Though she is admired by many for her humility and extraordinary dignity (myself included), I was surprised by the candour and honesty she displays on her private Twitter account.
She must be one of South Africa’s busiest people and yet she still finds time to inspire and motivate thousands of ordinary South Africans with words of hope and encouragement.
Even in the very early hours of the morning, when most of us are still fast asleep, her wise words comfort those who are lying awake, wrestling with worry and anxiety.
Recently, on a hot, sleepless night, I found myself browsing Twitter and coming across a tweet by Thuli, published at 02:56 in the morning. (She must have scheduled the post in advance, I thought.)
I couldn’t believe how many people were awake at that time – liking, retweeting and responding to her words.
Here’s what she wrote:
“Forgiveness does not mean you accept or ignore wrongdoing. It means tackling wrongdoing without hating the wrongdoer.”
A Twitter follower responded by saying: “I’m still learning how to forgive some of those who wronged me. It is not easy.”
Big was my surprise when I discovered that Thuli was awake too and replying with the following caring and encouraging words:
“You’ll get there, not for the wrongdoers but to liberate yourself from their emotional prison.”
In an earlier tweet, a Twitter follower mentioned how she would love to meet Thuli one day: “Tea and conversations would be great but first let me become a ‘somebody’.”
A humble Thuli replied: “You are somebody right now. Never let anyone make you believe you are somebody when you have a title.”
In response to yet another Twitter follower, who thanked her for her wise words, Thuli answered that she was simply sharing what she learned herself.
She credits her mother and author Louise Hay for opening her eyes to the power of forgiveness. “I also learned a lot from Mandela, Tutu and others,” she adds.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2014 – and it is clear that her influence stretches from the world stage to the homes of ordinary South African citizens. Who knows, maybe when her term of office ends in October 2016, she might become a motivational speaker and bring out a book?
Thank you, Ma Thuli, for caring and leading with such wisdom and grace. You inspire us and make us proud to be South African.
Here are 15 of my favourite Twitter truths by Thuli:
- If you are not at peace with yourself, you can never be at peace with the world or anyone else.
- Sometimes things don’t work out despite your goodwill and hard work. Don’t be bitter. Let go, move on and take the lessons with you.
- We can achieve great things in organisations and society, if we stop worrying about who is going to get the credit or whose job is it.
- The best advice you’ll ever receive is from your own soul.
- Take a moment to promote goodwill among people and nations, It’s the one thing the world needs right now.
- Peace is like a delicate tree; it needs continuous nurturing.
- I’ve learned that if you want to experience love in its purest form, you must let go of fear.
- Don’t surrender your dreams to the negative reaction of your friends and others. Many people genuinely can’t see as far as your vision.
- It is always possible to do better.
- Usually, it’s not the world that doesn’t appreciate us. Our own insecurities are the blinkers that prevent us from believing we’re appreciated.
- The first and most important leadership task we all must face is to lead ourselves. If we fail this test, we can never lead effectively.
- Every person is good at something.
- Ubuntu says I am because you are: our future can only be better if we work together and help improve each other’s lives.
- If you can only do one small thing to ease pain in the world, do it. It will make a world of difference.
- If all you see around you is negativity or reasons to complain, it’s not the world that needs to change; it’s the log in your eye that must go.
(Pics from Twitter, YouTube and GCIS)