A World of Their Own - A Rich History of Black Women’s Education

On, Tuesday July 16, The Steve Biko Centre, in partnership with the University of Kwazulu Natal, will host the launch of Meghan Healy's new book A World of Their Own.

A World of Their Own: A History of South African Women’s Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press), examines an important space of the survival of cosmopolitan and egalitarian visions during apartheid: the Inanda Seminary. Founded in 1869 outside of Durban as the first all-female school for black women in southern Africa, Inanda remained an independent school through apartheid, and it continues today. This book explains how Inanda became such an important space in this country’s social and political history. At the same time, it reveals why understanding black women’s education is key to understanding the rise, fall, and legacies of apartheid.

From its founding, Inanda’s history was linked to the Eastern Cape, as its graduates went on to attend and teach at the region’s historic institutions. The first woman to earn a BA at Fort Hare, Gertrude Ntlabati (Fort Hare class of 1928), was an Inanda alumna. The writer and activist Lauretta Ngcobo, whom was interviewed for this book, went on from Inanda to Fort Hare in the early years of apartheid, an experience that shaped her political consciousness. A contemporary Inanda and Fort Hare alumna, Dr Vida Mungwira, became the first African female doctor in the Central African Federation (Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) in 1961. As Eastern Cape schools suffered under state control, young women from this region came to Inanda, as several alumnae described to me in interviews. Inanda alumnae also continued to attend Fort Hare, where they were at the frontlines of student struggles and Black Consciousness organizing.

Launch Details

Date: Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Time: 5.30 for 6.00 pm
Venue: The Steve Biko Centre Auditorium, One Zotshie Street, Ginsberg, King William’s Town

RSVP at 033 260 5226 or elliotts@ukzn.ac.za. Alternatively, call Mr. Mwelela Cele on 043 605 6700

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