EDITORIAL | Maxeke was a torchbearer who still shines bright for SA women
While women of today deserve equal rights, they can learn a lot from Charlotte Maxeke’s journey
One of the beautiful legacies bequeathed this generation is an array of luminaries from whom to learn, in many different fields, who overcame difficulties more complex than we face today.
Wednesday marked the 150th anniversary of Charlotte Maxeke, née Mannya, a pathfinder born north of Polokwane to a lay preacher but moved to Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape, where she met her husband Marshall Maxeke. One of the early lessons from the couple was that they divided household chores equally, with nothing reserved for a man or woman. This masterclass on how to uproot patriarchy also had embedded in it the very important lesson about practising what one preaches — something the current crop of leaders, in politics and elsewhere, can learn much from.
Charlotte Maxeke became the first black woman to graduate with a university degree in SA, annexing to her name a Bachelor of Science from Wilberforce University in Ohio, where she had the distinct privilege of being mentored by world-renowned pan-African scholar WEB Du Bois, among others. ..