Charlotte Maxeke, politician and founder of the Bantu Women’s League of South Africa, is born


Charlotte MaxekeCharlotte Maxeke Image Source:

Monday, 7 April 1884

Charlotte Maxeke was born on 7 April 1847 in Fort Beaufort in Cape Town. From a young age Maxeke showed musical talent. She finished primary school early and her parents moved to Kimberly, where Maxeke completed her secondary school. It was at this time that she took part in musical activities. She joined a choir, and traveled throughout Europe performing. One of the highlights was the 1897 Jubilee at the London Royal Albert Hall where she performed for the Queen.

Maxeke then travelled to the US on a church scholarship, where she obtained her doctorate in Arts and Humanities. She met her husband Marshall Maxeke during her stay in the US. Upon her return to South Africa, Maxeke took up teaching and also took part in political activities in the African National Congress (ANC). She co-founded the Bantu Women’s League of South Africa, later renamed the ANC Women’s League. Maxeke died on 16 October 1939. Johannesburg Hospital has been renamed the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in honor of her contribution to the freedom struggle.

• Johannesburg Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke, from Johannesburg Hospital, [online], Available at [Accessed: 15 March 2012]
• DACB, MAXEKE, Charlotte Manye, from Dictionary of African Christian Biography, [online], Available at [Accessed: 07 April 2014]

Last updated : 20-Jul-2015

This article was produced by South African History Online on 05-Apr-2012

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