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Asinakhutula Collective has two public events every year, the Maxeke-Mgqwetho Memorial lecture and the Imbokodo Masterclass. Supporting these two events, Asinakuthula Collective is conducts on-going archival work, knowledge production, teaching and learning.

The aim of the Maxeke-Mgqwetho Memorial lecture is to recognise the significance of these (and other) women’s political and literary contribution to South Africa’s history. Maxeke and Mgqwetho are the starting point allowing us to talk about women throughout time. They are the early examples of women who wrote themselves into history. Both these women were born in the late 1800s and came of age in the 1920s where they used their voice to contribute to the public discourse which was dominated by men. In exploring their legacies, commemorating these women means that South Africa will not be able to forget about the contribution that women made to South Africa’s political resistance.

The Imbokodo Masterclass will take on the format of a full-day workshop where young people will learn about Maxeke, Mgqwetho and other women’s work as a starting point for looking at black women’s historiography pre-1950s. This is an interactive session where students will be invited from various schools across Johannesburg.

It would be impossible to cover the expansive history of these women and their era in one day. Our website serves as a place where more content and resources are shared. This will ensure the longevity of the project as new topics can be explored over months and years.

This online space also serves as a resource for History, English and Art teachers to use for their own teaching and finding ways of integrating women’s voices in their current modules.


By commemorating Maxeke and Mgqwetho, their legacies will begin to make more meaning to the questions young women and men are asking today about the role that feminism and women’s empowerment plays in South Africa. While the constitution of the country protects the rights of women and the equality of the sexes, there are enough examples which indicate that more still needs to be done to make sure that women occupy places of leadership as well as contribute to public discourse in the same way Maxeke and Mgqwetho did in their lifetimes.

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2019 Masterclass held at St Mary's School, 25 May. Students, from Alex-based Ntethelelo Foundation, Parktown Girls High School, Pretoria Girls High School, St Mary's St John's, St David's were in attendance.

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