The first platter from #ThePlatterProject has gone to Advocate Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s beloved outgoing Public Protector. Here, the artist’s daughter – LEGH WILKINSON – describes her meeting with Madonsela who told her that her mom and family are an inspiration…

Platter project Thuli Madonsela th
The artist’s daughter Legh, with Advocate Thuli Madonsela

First – some background: The Platter Project consists of beautifully painted plates that showcase South Africa’s wildlife… particularly its elephant and rhino which are being poached to extinction.

The plates have been created by Legh’s mom Di Wilkinson, an incredibly brave South African who – whilst facing a life-threatening battle with illness – has fought tirelessly to raise awareness about live organ donation… AND about the country’s precious wildlife.

LEGH describes the “life-changing experience” of 20 August 2016, the day she met Thuli Madonsela at a LeadSA Changemakers’ conference:

Platter project Thuli Madonsela
Legh and Madonsela with the platter. All photos supplied by Legh Wilkinson

“I was overwhelmed, exceptionally emotional and exhausted after engaging with the most incredible group of South Africans, united by a collective purpose to bring about positive change, in all facets of life.

“A sense of South African excellence.

“At the conference, I was privileged enough to meet and converse with Advocate Thuli Madonsela. I was a nervous wreck but somehow managed to present her with a platter from #ThePlatterProject and explain to her the background behind our ‘campaign’.

“She was totally in awe of my mom’s painting and her strength (as most of us are) and went on to tell me that my family and I are ‘an inspiration’.

“This made everything we have fought so incredibly hard for, in the last three years, worth it. To know that we are indeed making a positive difference in South Africa by creating awareness and educating people on organ donation and wildlife conservation.”

Tips from Advocate Thuli Madonsela

Platter project“During Madonsela’s keynote address these short phrases resonated with me and I thought I would share:

  • You cannot lead if you cannot follow.
  • Be a leader who does not need a title.
  • Believe in the purpose of the work you are doing!
  • Choose your battles carefully.
  • Social injustice is intolerable.
  • Accept that mistakes are made, not because you are a bad person… but because you are human.

“Thuli Madonsela, you have galvanised my passion for this country and I will continue to look up to you. Thank you for your time and your kind words.”

Legh also describes an incredibly uplifting moment at the end of the day when the 300 plus delegates burst into song… singing R Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest”.

It was not about individuals being the ‘World’s greatest’, it was about a collective mission to uplift South Africa. To make South Africa, the ‘World’s greatest’ through individual contributions (as Thuli Madonsela said: “The ocean is made up of millions of drops of water”).

“I was completely overcome with emotion, as standing shoulder to shoulder we belted out ‘I’m that little bit of hope, when my back’s against the ropes’ and I realised that every person in that room had refused to be discouraged by the hardships or challenges they faced, rather they believed in the ‘the power of leverage’.

“These were changemakers who ‘see hope where others see despair’. A moment I will carry close to my heart for years to come…”

Platter project Thuli Madonsela tweet
A treasured tweet from Advocate Thuli Madonsela