Arthur Blaxall

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Arthur William Blaxall (15 May 1891 – 5 December 1970[1]) was an Anglican priest who for most of his life lived and worked in South Africa where he became especially known for his ministry among the blind and the deaf.


Arthur William Blaxall was born in Britain on 15 May 1891. He served in the World War I as a medical orderly,[2] worked as a missioner to the deaf in Birmingham and went to South Africa in 1923, together with his wife Florence. He founded the Ezenzeleni workshop for the blind at Roodepoort in 1939.[3]

In 1954, he founded the Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind, but it was forced to change its name when he was exiled for his opposition to the National Party government in 1964.[4]

In the 1960s, he was secretary of the South African branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation,[5] a pacifist organisation. He was invited by Nelson Mandela to visit him whilst he awaited trial, which he did on three occasions when they prayed together. In 1963, he was charged with various offences under the Suppression of Communism Act, and given a suspended sentence, mainly on grounds of his age, and went into exile in the UK.[6]



  1. ^ Obituary, Hearing, 1971, January, p.17
  2. ^ Obituary, Hearing, 1971, January p.17
  3. ^ "Arthur William Blaxall". South African History Online. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  4. ^ "Arthur Blaxall". Who's Who SA. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  5. ^ Swanepoel 2007, p. 99.
  6. ^ Kalley, Schoeman & Andor 1999, p. 336.