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Saturday, 1 August 2015

6 Things You Should Know About "The Pioneering Woman Who The World Forgot", Notukela Dube


By Stella WaAfrika
Photo Credit: BBC World Service

Our continent is full of stories, some have been told, some not fully told while others are yet to be told.
There is still so many untold stories of African people who contributed greatly to where our continent is today in their respective countries; however, we never get to hear most of these stories.

One of the names that caught my attention is Notukela Dube, as I was reading this one article on BBC World Service who shared some interesting facts on the South African change maker over a century ago. BBC dubbed her, "The Pioneering Woman Who The World Forgot."

It is believed that even though she is not a household name in SA, she worked hand in hand with her husband in all his major endeavours. But the world as we know it, they chose to only focus and acknowledge her husband's achievements which is sad

Here are 6 things I learnt about this phenomenal woman and I think you too should know.

* She was at the fore front of  South Africa's black-empowerment movement helping to form the country we know today.

* Notukela and her husband were inspired by the work of the black American educator Booker T. Washington who preached self-reliance - arguing black people had to make economic progress before they could make political progress.

* After returning home to Inanda the Notukela and her husband became the first black South Africans to start a school. In 1900 they founded the Ohlange Institute which is still teaching pupils today.

* She created a "national spirit" bringing students from across the country together under one roof while she trained generations of leaders.

* She started the prestigious music programme at Ohlange, composed songs and formed a choir. She also taught students cooking, house-keeping and tailoring. 

* Notukela and her husband set up a newspaper, produced a book of Zulu songs and popularised the song Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa) that became part of South Africa's national anthem after apartheid.

You can read more about this strong African woman here.

We have so many unsung African heroes. I'm hopeful that one day all their stories will be told to generations to come. It begins with you and I. We have to have interest in our own stories and the willingness to share them and better yet let African storytellers  tell our stories. 

I've learnt that most times when our stories are told by others, they usually deviate from the subject's greatness. 

Long live the spirit of Notukela Dube. 

 Source: BBC World Service

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Stella is the founder of WaAfrikaOnline.  A Pan-African at heart, passionate about Africa, human rights, women empowerment and girl child education. She's also into broadcasting. 
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