Freedom Park pays homage to Nokutela Dube

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pretoria - Freedom Park will today memorialise Mama Nokutela Dube for her contribution to the struggle for humanity and freedom.

At this event, a renowned researcher from the United States of America, Professor Cherif Keita, will introduce this iconic woman to the audience.

Nokutela Dube was the first wife of Reverend John Langalibalele Dube, the first President General of the South African Native National Congress (later the ANC).

As an equal partner to John Langalibalele Dube, Nokutela Dube contributed to building everything that people know today as the John Dube legacy in South Africa.

Together they tirelessly raised funds in the United States between 1896 and 1899 to build the Ohlange Institute (1900), the newspaper Ilanga Lase Natal (1903) and many other groundbreaking institutions that have furthered the cause of multiracial democracy in the country since the early 20th century.

Her many talents were crucial in the establishment of the outstanding educational institution that Ohlange became from the very first day of its existence in Inanda, South Africa.

Born in 1873 in Inanda, Nokutela Mdima was educated at Inanda Seminary and became its earliest graduate to build institutions for a modern Africa. In her capacity as a singer, seamstress, an educator, and an early voice for Africa in the 19th century United States of America and Europe.

She taught at Inanda Seminary for a few years and later received additional training in the United States at the Union Missionary Training Institute in Brooklyn, New York, between 1896 and 1899. She specialized in Music and Home Economics.

She is the co-author with John L. Dube of a book titled Amagama Abantu (A Zulu Song Book), 1911, a book that stands as a landmark in the development of Zulu Choral music.

Up until her death in 1917, she travelled many times with her husband John to the United States to gather financial support for their work to uplift the African people through industrial education, since their school was totally independent of the Natal Department of Education.

It is therefore befitting that Freedom Park provides a platform for South Africans to be introduced to a phenomenal woman who was one of the pioneers of the Freedom struggle movement, as well as to create a situation where the family spiritually re-introduces and rests on South Africa’s heroines in a space reserved for such people to present to South Africans its heroine. –