Ellen Kuzwayo

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Nnoseng Ellen Kate Kuzwayo (29 June 1914 – 19 April 2006) was a women's rights activist and politician in South Africa. She was president of the African National Congress Youth League in the 1960s. In 1994 she was elected to the first post-apartheid South African Parliament. Her autobiography, Call Me Woman (1985), won the CNA Prize.

Early years[edit]

Family background[edit]

Kuzwayo came from an educated, political family. Her maternal grandfather, Jeremaiah Makgothi, was taken by his mother from the Orange Free State to the Cape to attend the Lovedale Institute, circa 1875. He qualified as a teacher and also worked as a court interpreter and a Methodist lay preacher. Makgothi was the only layman to work with Robert Moffat on the translation of the Bible into Setswana.1

Both Makgothi and Kuzwayo's father, P. S. Mefare, were political. Makgothi was secretary of the Orange Free State branch of the South African Native National Congress, Mefare a member of its successor, the African National Congress.

A South African marine research ship was named after her.


Kuzwayo began her schooling at the school built by Makgothi on his farm in Thabapatchoa, about 12 miles from Tweespruit, Orange Free State. In 1937 she graduated from a higher teacher's training course at Adams College, Amanzimtoti.[1]



  1. ^ Rappaport, Helen (2001). Encyclopedia of women social reformers. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: ABC-CLIO. p. 378. ISBN 1576071014. 

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