oa Alternation - Colonialism, culture, christianity and the struggle for selfhood: Manche Masemola of Sekhukhuneland, c.1913 - 1928

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Manche Masemola was not the sort of person who, for most of the twentieth century, would have been likely to attract the attention of historians in South Africa. She was a young Pedi woman who spent her entire life within her parents' household. near the village of Marishane in Sekhukhuneland. in what is now the Northern Province. Few written historical sources descriptionbe the lives of rural women in southern Africa, and even fewer the lives of individuals. The fact or date of Manche Masemola's birth was not officially recorded. That we know her name or anything about her is largely due to the manner of her death in 1928: she came quickly to be regarded by local Anglicans as a martyr, and it was this which drew attention to her life. Most of what we know about Manche is found in missionary records and is shaped by Christian hagiography. Some redress for this imbalance is provided by Peter Delius' work on the Pedi published in The Land Belongs to Us (1983) and A Lion amongst the Cattle (1996).

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