Archive by Author
February 19, 2013


A World of Their Own: A History of South African Women’s Education by Meghan Healy-Clancy

World of their Own bookThis book is an elegantly written social history of Inanda Seminary, embedded in the wider social and political context throughout, and skilfully brings together a vast array of information relating to 140 years of African women’s schooling.

Through the prism of Inanda Seminary, this study examines how rising numbers of African women came to attend school and the meanings of their schooling in the making and unmaking of the racialised state. The mission schools that provided nearly all African schooling before apartheid prepared girls to run homes, schools and clinics on a shoestring, in an arrangement that appealed to officials. Yet as nationalist movements developed in the first half of the twentieth century, women from Inanda and peer institutions found in their work as teachers and health workers power to shape the future of ‘the race’. When apartheid officials came to power in 1948, they needed the skills of an African middle-class to govern. But they needed to undermine this class politically to rule. These tensions came to a head in the Bantu Education Act of 1953 which sought to resolve them through a gendered strategy: officials encouraged African women’s training as teachers and nurses, even as they attempted to limit African male-led political agitation by nationalising most mission schools and limiting their curricula to preparation for semi-skilled labour. From the interstices of racialised patriarchy, the most talented African female students at Inanda and other high schools used their schooling to push at personal, professional and political boundaries – belying the gendered assumptions of ‘separate development’.

In its gendered analysis and choice of subject matter this study can make an important contribution to South African education history. There are few studies of African women’s schooling in South Africa, and none of this academic weight.
— Dr Helen Ludlow, School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand

The author has deftly woven theoretical arguments about social reproduction and gender into the narrative, without these arguments obscuring the fascinating people and places she describes. The portraits of the successive headmistresses of the school are compelling, and she writes with great sensitivity and compassion about them and the constraints and opportunities in the era in which they pursued their calling.
— Sue Krige, Johannesburg-based heritage specialist

Meghan Healy-Clancy is a social historian of sub-Saharan Africa, with a Ph.D. in African Studies (2011) and an M.A. in History (2007) from Harvard University. She holds a dual appointment at Harvard College in the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature and in the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies.

February 13, 2013

Inanda Heritage Route development in maps

The maps below are excerpted from DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK PLAN & MARKETING STRATEGY INANDA HERITAGE ROUTE Harber & Associates IHR Consortium FINAL REPORT July 2010. For a more detailed view, click on the link, find them in the original document and extract them.

January 30, 2013

Ekuphakameni no Shembe

Ekuphakamenikwasetha umProphet Isaiah Shembe umsunguli we Nazareth Baptist noma isonto lakwaShembe, okuyilona elikhulu nelizimele e-Afrika ngo 1911. UShembe wathenga indawo eNanda yesonto lakhe wayibiza ngokuthi kusekuPhakameni (indawo yokuqhuba ukholo). UShembe washona ngo 1935, wafinhlwa ekuPhakameni futhi ithuna lakhe lithatheka njengeshini. Imikhosi eminingi yenzelwa khona ngo Masingane, uMbaso, uNtulikazi kanye noMandulo minyaka yonke.



Isaiah Shembe

History of Prophet Isaiah Shembe




January 29, 2013

The Phoenix Settlement

The Phoenix Settlement, established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904, is situated on the north-western edge of Inanda, some 20 kilometres north of Durban. Sita Gandhi writes “my grandfather’s farm … was fifteen miles away from the city, and in those days around us were plantations of sugar cane fields. Over 100 acres of land was called Phoenix Settlement. It was the most beautiful piece of land, untouched by the then racial laws.”
The Settlement, devoted to Gandhi’s principles of Satyagraha (passive resistance) has played an important spiritual and political role throughout its long history, promoting justice, peace and equality. Gandhi established the settlement as an communal experimental farm with the view of giving each family two acres of land which they could develop. He believed that communities like Phoenix which advocated communal living would form a sound basis for the struggle against social injustice. His granddaughter Ela Gandhi points out that Gandhi used the Settlement “to train political activists called satyagrahis as well as house their families, while they were engaged in the campaigns against unjust laws”. Her sister Sita describes the Phoenix Settlement as a lively, bustling community, a veritable kutum. Market gardens were established, their diary supplied milk to all the homesteads on the settlement as well as the neighbourhood, and they produced their own butter and ghee for domestic use. Everybody on the settlement had to participate in communal activities, such as the daily prayers and singing of hymns which Gandhi himself had instituted.


Related links

Mewa Ramgobin – South African History Online

Mewa Ramgobin: memories

Modern day Phoenix


January 27, 2013

Qadi Grave

The Mzinyathi Valley is where the Qadi Chiefdom settled in the early 19th century after fleeing the wrath of King Dingane. The Qadi chief has his Royal homestead in the valley.

For more information click on one of the links below:

Qadi Clan – Ulwazi Programme

January 22, 2013

Craft project at Sizimisele Trust

Craft project at Sizimisele Development Trust.

For more information on this NGO click here: Sizimisile Development Trust – Official Website

January 20, 2013

Links between Gandhi, Dube, Shembe and the Inanda Seminary

Three of the pioneering leaders were almost exactly of the same age:  Shembe (1870 – 1935), Gandhi (1969-1948); Dube (1871-1946); apart from Dube, all of them came from elsewhere and chose Inanda for their settlement: Shembe grew up around Harrismith in the Drakensberg; Gandhi in India, the Lindleys and Mary Edwards in the eastern part of the United States.

Inanda Seminary was established in 1869, Ohlange Institute in 1903, Phoenix Settlement in 1904, Ekuphakameni in 1910.

Dube and Shembe were connected through a long-term friendship and Dube wrote Shembe’s biography (Ushembe 1936).

John Dube is much celebrated as a political leader, but he was also an important theologian. Through his contact with Isaiah Shembe, Dube acquired a deeper understanding of the aims and theology of the African Independent Churches (AICs). In fact, Dube coined the term African Independent Churches.

Dube allowed Shembe and his church to reach a wider African audience through Ilanga, which provided space for intense debates on African theology with Shembe as focus from as early as 1917. The newspaper regularly published articles about important events and activities of the Shembe church, and reported about festivals with miraculous healings.

Both Dube and Shembe essentially tried to merge Christianity with some of the rules and values of the African tradition, but with very different results.

John Dube’s grandmother Dalida was Rev. Daniel Lindley’s first convert in Natal. She became educated at Inanda Mission Seminary; it was through her that Dube was introduced to Christian values and the importance of formal education and through her influence Dube received a scholarship to the USA.

John Dube’s father, James, was the first ordained minister at Inanda Seminary, succeeding Rev. Lindley in 1873; John Dube himself was initially educated at the Inanda Mission.

Early female Shembe followers were students at Inanda Seminary; they played a crucial role in recording the history of the Shembe church.

Inanda Seminary was an important source of inspiration for the Ohlange Institute and Dube had a long-standing relationship with and interest in the Inanda Seminary, for instance giving occasional talks there, etc.

Social gatherings were organized between the boys from Ohlange Institute and the girls at Inanda Seminary from the 1930s.

A school magazine was jointly produced between Ohlange Institute and Inanda Seminary in the 1930s.

Dube and Gandhi knew and respected each other. Residents at Ohlange and Phoenix were in regular contact.

Gandhi’s Indian Opinion was an important source of inspiration for Dube’s foundation of Ilanga, which was in fact initially printed at Phoenix.

Contrary to some scholars, who deny any links between Gandhi and Shembe (and   Africans more generally), Heuser (2003) proves that the two leaders not only knew, but also influenced each other. Cross-cultural links between Indians and Africans through the close proximity of their neighbourhood during this period is largely forgotten today, but extremely important to remember. The Shembe church was the only AIC in South Africa that invited and attracted Indians as members, while Africans regularly attended prayer meetings at Phoenix. It was in this climate of living together and sharing experiences and values that the concept of non-violent action was born.

The ideal of non-violence was in fact shared among Gandhi, Shembe and Dube. While Dube did not believe in confronting the government directly in acts of passive resistance Gandhi’s message took root with Shembe.

Shembe was long thought of as a non-political and conformist leader, but Gandhi’s ideas of passive resistance had in fact a deep influence on him. This culminated in 1926, when Shembe encouraged his members to resist a state-prescribed general vaccination campaign. The resistance campaign became a milestone in establishing the autonomy of the Shembe church over the authority of state institutions.

In 1928 the oldest known isibongo or praise song for Isaiah Shembe is published in Ilanga. It contains explicit references to Phoenix and veiled references to Gandhi.

Gandhi was inspired by Shembe to promote an emphasis on a simple, ascetic life-style and self-sufficiency.

Long after Gandhi’s return to India, he kept himself informed about religious developments in South Africa. The colourful dances and festivals of the Shembe were one of the few items of African cultural life covered by the Indian Opinion.

When Isaiah Shembe died in 1935, two of Gandhi’s earliest Satyagrahis, Sechand Ramgobin and Sorabjee Rustomjee, spoke at his funeral. Ramgobin, in particular, who had received his schooling at Phoenix, was a long-term trusted friend and supporter of Shembe.

Conversely, after Gandhi’s death in 1948, representatives of the Shembe church were regularly invited at Gandhi memorials and under Manilal Gandhi’s tenure at Phoenix many points of contact existed between Phoenix and Ekuphakameni.

Gandhi’s founding of the Natal Indian Congress partly inspired Dube’s contribution to the foundation of the African National Natives Congress, the fore-runner of the ANC.

During the middle of the 20th century, Inanda Seminary and the Ohlange Institute were important sources of inspiration for the Kasturba Gandhi School at Phoenix.

During the later period, Amos Shembe taught at Ohlange Institute for a short while.

The connection between the different sites is also reflected in the personal experiences and biographies of leader figures in South African society. E.g. former Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka was a student at Inanda Seminary and later a teacher at Ohlange Institute.


Compiled by Sabine Marschall in September 2009


Main source:

Heuser, Andreas. 2003. Shembe, Gandhi und die Soldaten Gottes. Wurzeln der Gewaltfreiheit in Sűdafrika. Waxmann: Műnster/ New York, Műnchen/ Berlin.

Other sources:

Dhupelia-Mestrie, Uma. 2004. Gandhi’s Prisoner? The Life of Gandhi’s Son Manilal. Cape Town: Kwela Books.

Hughes, Heather. 1990. ‘A lighthouse for African womanhood’: Inanda Seminary, 1869-1945”. In: Women and Gender in Southern Africa to 1945. Edited by Cheryl Walker. David Philip and James Curry: Cape Town and London, pp.197-220

Marable, Manning. 1976. African Nationalist: The Life of John Langalibalele Dube. PhD dissertation, University of Maryland.

Papini, Robert. 1992. Rise Up and Dance and Praise God. Holy Church of Nazareth Baptists. 1992. Education Pamphlet to accompany a temporary exhibition at the Local History Museum. Produced by the Local History Museum, Durban.

Tichmann, Paul. 1998. Gandhi sites in Durban. The Local History Museums: Durban.