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Lecture honours one of SA’s greatest women leaders
2008-08-22

A member of the national executive committee of the ANC Women’s League, Yolanda Botha, has called on all South Africans to cherish the legacy of Charlotte Maxeke, one of South Africa’s greatest women leaders.

Ms Botha was delivering the first Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein last night, in honour of the pioneering role played by Maxeke in the struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom. The lecture series is a partnership between the Free State Provincial Government and the university.

She was born Charlotte Makgomo Manye on 7 April 1874 at Ramokgopa in the Polokwane district in Limpopo. In 1905 she graduated from the Wilberforce University in Ohio in the USA with a B.Sc. degree, making her the first black South African woman to graduate with a science degree.

She married the Rev. MM Maxeke, a prominent AME minister who had also been educated overseas, and together they collaborated on the compilation and publication of the first AME church hymn book in Xhosa.

Later she became a founder member and president of the Bantu Women’s League, forerunner of the ANC Women’s League. She was an early opponent of the pass laws for black women and an organiser of the anti-pass movement in Bloemfontein.

Charlotte Maxeke died in 1939. Two years later, an ANC conference held in Bloemfontein, passed a “resolution on the women’s section”.

Elaborating on the challenges that women still face, Ms Botha said poverty remains a challenge affecting the majority of women. She called on all women to unite and engage with government to develop a comprehensive strategy for food security and agricultural support programmes to eradicate poverty.

Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za

22 August 2008

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