Ms Madonsela was a thorn in the side of South African President Jacob Zuma.
A lawyer and former head of South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog has been named Forbes Africa Person of the Year for 2016.
Thuli Madonsela, who was public protector from 2009 until last month, is the sixth recipient of the award.
The announcement was made at a ceremony in Nairobi on Thursday evening.
The winner was a thorn in the flesh of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma. She ruled that he had “unduly benefited” from government money used to upgrade his private residence.
Before she stepped down last month as anti-corruption chief, she called for a judge-led inquiry into allegations that Mr Zuma let a powerful business family, the Guptas, wield influence in his government.
Mr Zuma and the family strongly denied the allegation.
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