CMMI runs a number of programmes that are aimed at preserving, promoting and elevating the legacy of Mme Charlotte. These include the annual Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Week (coinciding with her birth date and culminating in an annual memorial lecture), Bring Her Up, Top 100 Girl Camp, Preserving the Legacy and Intergenerational Dialogues during Women’s Month in August.
We have already started an annual program to commemorate Mme Charlotte through Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Week which is held during the week of 7 April, her birth date. The week’s programme includes a house and gravesite visit, school debates and an essay competition (as part of Bring Her Up), a Charlotte Maxeke Hospital visit, various activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. The week culminates in a memorial lecture delivered by other iconic and pioneering South African females. The 2019 programme can be viewed here.
Our memorial lectures are aimed at educating and motivating young women to follow in Mme Charlotte’s footsteps. They are delivered by upright individuals that positively impact moral and principle lifestyle to the public. The presenters are aided by our ambassadors who form an integral part of these activities.
Bring-Her-Up (BHU) is a CMMI initiative that builds on Mme Charlotte’s belief that one should uplift one another. She once said:
“This work is not for yourselves. Kill that spirit of self and do not live above your people but live with them, and if you can rise, bring someone with you.”
BHU is a family and community engagement initiative that encourages influential women in our societies to rise with a girl child under their wings and to Bring-Her-Up. In addition, CMMI in partnership with relevant government departments, institutions and individuals will identify, profile and monitor young exceptional girls from different parts of our country, in particular those from deep rural areas, with the aim of supporting them to reach their full potential. We will then call upon selected women (public and private sphere, academics, politicians, post graduates etc.) to heed the call of rising with someone through the provision of mentoring, role modelling, parenting, guiding, motivating, and to promote responsible decision making. We believe that BHU can help to address the scourge of hopelessness, low self-esteem, teenage pregnancy, blesser/blessee relationships, abuse and bullying of women, drug and alcohol abuse that often stops our children from achieving their potential.
Top 100 Girls Camp
This annual week-long educational camp caters for one-hundred top achievers from across South Africa who are between thirteen to nineteen years old and who have demonstrated exceptional academic talent. We have partnered with Women and Aviation in this important initiative, through which we hope to propel these young girls to greater heights by maximising their potential and helping them to realise the opportunities and choices open to them. We encourage healthy competition among our country’s best young minds, and indirectly believe this will contribute to creating lasting and productive associations.
Preserving the Legacy
Our hopes are that we will one day be able to immortalise Mme Charlotte’s legacy by honouring her with, amongst other items, a documentary that retraces her steps, a statue, the renovation of her house in Kliptown, and a mobile museum. Our research will focus on retracing her steps, reconnecting with the institutions linked to her, collecting items and documents in order to compile an archive and being able to disseminate and display a rich and comprehensive history of this South African icon.
In memory of her considerable contribution to both South Africans and the international community, and to coincide with the centenary of the establishment of the Bantu Women’s League, we initiated a series of dialogues in 2018. Our objective was to celebrate Mme Charlotte’s achievements, preserve her legacy and heritage, promote her teachings, advance the values she stood for and remind people of her story. Other struggle icons, including Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, Dr Nelson Mandela and Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela were the topics at our main events in our first year of dialogues.