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Government is set to launch the “Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke,” as declared by Cabinet in March 2021.

Friday’s launch will allow government to unveil its Programme of Action for 2021, as a way to memorialise the struggle icon and trailblazer.

The launch will be led by Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabiltiies, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

uMama Charlotte Mannya Maxeke will become the second woman to be memorialised and honoured in this way since 2018 when struggle icon Albertina Sisulu was honoured.

“This, the 150th year since the birthday of uMama Charlotte Mannya Maxeke is an important year for South Africa as we recognise women of courage and fortitude who pursued the same cause as struggle icons like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo, to name but a few,” said the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in a statement on Thursday.

Maxeke made an indelible impact in many areas, including education, faith and politics and has been described as a woman of many “firsts”.

She was the first black woman to graduate and obtain a BSc Degree in Southern Africa in 1901.

She was also the first woman to participate in the Kings Court under King Sabata Dalindyebo of AbaThembu and they started a school under this Royal Family and for all her efforts, she was given the name “Nogazo” as a salutation of honour.

She then established a school in Evaton, Gauteng, in 1908 (Wilberforce Institute), having been inspired by her experience at Wilberforce in Ohio.

History books attest that she was the only woman that attended the first African National Congress (ANC) conference in 1912 as well as the first President of Bantu Women’s League in 1918, which later became the ANC Women’s League.

All government departments and entities are expected to have memorialisation activations that accord with the government’s 2021 declaration of “The year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke.”

Civil Society is also being encouraged to do the same to honour Maxeke. Activities can be shared under the #YearofCharlotteMaxeke hashtag.


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