For seven years, Thulisile Madonsela fought tirelessly to defend South Africa’s constitution as Head of the worldwide unique state institution Public Protector, for which she was awarded the German Africa Award 2016. As South Africa’s top corruption watchdog, she stands like no other for compliance with the rule of law. As the first woman in this position, she has successfully prosecuted corruption and abuse of power in the administration, right up to the highest levels of government. Thus, in the so-called Nkandla scandal, Thuli Madonsela investigated the most powerful man in the state: the incumbent President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma – probably one of the strongest moments in her term of office.
As advocate and holder of two honorary doctorates, Thuli Madonsela was not only involved in the drafting of the South African constitution, which is still in force today, but also in a number of important equality laws. As a member of the African Ombudsman Research Centre, which she co-founded at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in 2011, she is actively engaged in the reform of the South African legal system and also actively advocates gender equality. In 2014, Time Magazine ranked Thuli Madonsela among the 100 most influential people in the world; Transparency International awarded her the Integrity Award in the same year.
On 24 November 2016, the President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, presented the German Africa Award 2016 to Thuli Madonsela in front of 250 invited guests at the Allianz Forum in Berlin and thanked her for her courageous commitment to South Africa’s rule of law and democracy.