COUNTDOWN to the Year of Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke







On 19 June 2020, the Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Institute (CMMI) and the National Heritage Council (NHC) in partnership with Department of Sport, Arts & Culture launched the 2020 countdown to the Year of Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke. Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Hon. Nathi Mthethwa, officially launched the 150 days’ countdown to the anniversary of Mme Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke to mark what would have been her 150th birthday on 07 April 2021.


Mannya-Maxeke is regarded by many as iconic, unparalleled and colossus woman who was ahead of her time. She transversed effortlessly from politics to religion, education, community development and women empowerment. Her interests were always tied to excellence and extending herself to others which led to serving her country in groundbreaking ways. In 2021 we mark what would have been her 150th birthday, born 7 April 1871 in Fort Beaufort Eastern Cape.

In memory of Mme Maxeke and the enormous contributions she has made to South Africa, CMMI & NHC have partnered on a series of programmes that highlight the preservation of her legacy; promote her teachings; advance the values she stood for and elevate her name.


Chairperson of the Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Institute Mr. Thulasizwe Makhanya stated that “women have always been at the forefront, leading the fight for the emancipation of our country and continent in all our movements and it is time for history to restore their legacies to its rightful place”. We deem it important for us as the organisation that carries her name to connect with the South African public through programmes that tackle the current challenges we face in our communities; especially facing women and girls.


Chief Executive Officer of the NHC, Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa who led the programme, urged that it is important that we continue to honour the heroes and heroines that have played a critical role in our country’s liberation struggle. He affirmed that we draw strength from them as they have faced most difficult of times and somehow overcame their struggles with grace and might, so that this generation can live a better life.


In his key note address, the Minister reflected today’s struggles that women face, which is gender based violence. He said that courageous and fierce women like Mme Mannya-Maxeke will acknowledge the progress made in trying to bring about gender equality in our society, however , she will not be pleased by the way men treat our women, our girls and our sisters.  He encouraged the public to celebrate the life of the mother of African freedom as we embark on this year long programme and  remember women who have been victims of such heinous crime.


Activities for the countdown include:


  1. January: Intergenerational Dialogue MAXEKE & A.B. DUMA: ANC January Statement
  2. February: Bring Her UP Programmes
  3. March: Human Rights March / Fight again Gender Based Violence
  4. April: Maxeke Week
  5. May: Continent of Light & 2063 Agenda
  6. June: Youth Forum #Ingqungquthela
  7. July: Legacy of Giving Maxeke & Mandela Dialogue
  8. August: BHU: Women of Firsts Awards & ANC Women’s League / Re-living 1956 Women’s March
  9. September: Heritage Trail & United State Dialogues MAXEKE & W.E.B DuBois
  10. October: Leadership Seminar
  11. November: Mother of All Golf Days
  12. December: CMMI Music Festival



About Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke


Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke (7 April 1871 – 16 October 1939) was a woman of many firsts and broke through incredible barriers at a time where women were expected to know “their place” in society. She was the first black woman in Southern Africa to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in 1901 from Wilberforce University Ohio USA; She was the only woman in the room in 1912 when the South African Native National Congress (now known as the ANC) was founded in Bloemfontein. In 1918 she was the initiator and the first President of Bantu Women’s League. Her pride and achievements did not only lie in being a woman of many firsts, but in ensuring that more women had a seat at the table and were part of the solution driven ideas that our society so desperately needed. Our initiatives are echoed by her words If you can rise, bring someone with you”. Born in Fort Beaufort Eastern Cape to her mother Ann Manci and father John Kgope Mannya of the Batlokwa clan of Limpopo.


For more information about the Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Institute please visit: http//




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