Africa National Congress (ANC) Deputy President David Mabuza says the late struggle stalwart Charlotte Maxeke is the mother of freedom because of how much she contributed to ensuring that the country is free.

Mabuza leads activities to celebrate Maxeke’s 150th birthday in Botlokwa, outside Polokwane in Limpopo.

Mabuza says the struggle of women is continuing as they face a new struggle against gender-based violence.

Activities to celebrate the late struggle stalwart Charlotte Maxeke are part of Freedom Month celebrations.

Earlier, Mabuza unveiled a plaque at a house that was used by Maxeke to hold meetings at Ga-Ramokgopa in Botlokwa. He also cut a cake to celebrate 150 years since Maxeke’s birth.

Charlotte Maxeke’s father, John Kgope Mannya was a Motlokwa, from Botlokwa under the Ramokgopa royal family.

Mabuza says Maxeke was instrumental in the fight for freedom.

“Mme Charlotte, to us as the ANC, is the mother of our freedom. She is a very remarkable person, exceptional and very extraordinary. We are happy that today we are free because of the contribution of Charlotte Maxeke and her generation. The struggle of women is still our struggle. Today, we are facing a new struggle, facing gender-based violence. Women and children are killed everyday.”


Charlotte Maxeke’s great-granddaughter, Matau Mannya says the abuse of women and children must be dealt with harshly to honour her.

“She was a woman who fought for human rights. As you see, nowadays there is gender-based violence against women and children; there is women abuse and Mama Charlotte was fighting against those.”

Makgoro Mannya’s father, Charlotte Maxeke’s nephew, says the family is delighted that Maxeke’s contribution is not forgotten.

“We feel very honoured and we are saying this is going to assist. Even our great-grandchildren will know that once upon a time we had a very strong hero in the family.”

Maxeke was a political activist who graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Wilberforce University in the United States of America. She was the first black African woman to graduate from an American University, and she was also the first South African woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Science.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the Charlotte Maxeke Lecture: