By Thandolwethu Nqezane

The Government Communication and Information System in partnership with the Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Institute hosted a panel discussion as part of the Freedom Month to commemorate the life and times of Charlotte Maxeke as a freedom fighter via Zoom.

The panel was made up of 3 members, Zubeida Jaffer, the author of BEAUTY OF THE HEART: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHARLOTTE MANNYA MAXEKE. Jaffer is also a media practitioner who recently opened a publication company called NUMBER 10 PUBLISHERS. She ensures that the life and time of various South African icons are preserved. We also had Reshokestwe Mouswe, who is the 19th President of the Episcopal District Women’s Missionary Society African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) Church, and lastly, Dr Musawenkosi Saurombe, who is the ambassador of the Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Institute.

The year 2021 was declared by the ANC to be the year of Charlotte Maxeke as she would have turned 150 years in April. The Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Institute runs a number of programmes that are aimed at preserving, promoting and elevating the legacy of Mme Charlotte Maxeke. These include the annual Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Week, Bring Her Up, Top 100 Girl Camp, Preserving the Legacy and Intergenerational dialogues.

Zubeida Jaffer wrote about Mme Mannya Maxeke because there were many different versions of who she was and when she was born. It took her 3 years to complete the book. She spoke about her upbringing, how she had to work as a domestic in order to attend school. When she came back home, she taught herd boys how to read, she was also part of a group that built schools and the one that she built is in Everton, Gauteng. Reshokestwe Mouswe spoke about Charlotte Maxeke as a church member at A.M.E. Mme Charlotte Mannya Maxeke was the first president of the women’s missionary society and established missionary schools.

They all pointed out that you don’t have to have everything in order to change the world. The little things go a long way, be sure of your goals and stand firm in your values.

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