Thuli Madonsela: 'I needed to correct Helen Zille's black privilege tweet'

Thuli Madonsela chats about her work since leaving the office and her views on issues of social justice.

Eusebius McKaiser asked the former Public Protector why she chose to engage former Western Cape premier Helen Zille on her white privilege tweets.

What made me enter the fray, was realising firstly, that Zille is an important influencer in South Africa and globally, and when she expresses her view that says there is something called black privilege and that it is linked to political maleficence, I thought I needed to correct it.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

She says there is a hardened attitude with people with privilege that becomes blaming and shaming.

Read: 'Thuli Madonsela’s name has been mentioned for Deputy President'

People deny this because they feel ashamed maybe because they are beneficiaries of something cruel, they deny because they think that by saying that they are privileged, you are denying that they have worked hard to be where they are.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

The conversation moved to what Madonsela is up to currently after having left the Public Protector's office, and she says she has chosen to go back to academia.

I have chosen to go back to academia because that gives me the resources to operate from and the intellectual capital of my colleagues to connect our lines in the pursuit of social justice.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

She says the fight back against her when she was investigating state capture, taught her that gaslighting people was made possible because of the gross social injustices in South Africa.

So people who were stealing from people were able to get sympathy because it was easy to say: "I have taken 2c, and they stole a million, and it was made to appear like that and there was no nuance to it. There was also this approach that because you were white, you were part of apartheid.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

She adds that if we are going to make democracy sustainable in our country and if we are going to have a peaceful society, there needs to be a handle on social justice.

So I chose a job at Stellenbosch. It wasn't given to me by Mr Rupert, but even if it were, I would have accepted it. Because at this stage, I just thought that this was the best incubator for my ideas on social justice.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

When probed on her thoughts on the current Public protector office, Madonsela had this to say.

My tweets have a lot of meanings. I don't wake up and think about my office every day. They have to do with the conversations I have with young people every day. They have to do what is happening globally. I respect the public protector. I respect every human being, for me, respect is the proper essence of being human.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

Watch below the full conversation between Eusebius McKaiser and Thuli Madonsela:

Listen below to the interview:


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