: Hodgson (J.)

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193pp., b/w & colour illus., paperback, Cape Town, 2021


Foreword by Leah Tutu.

Emma Sandile (1842–1892), known as Princess Emma to the colonists, was the eldest daughter of Rharhabe Mgolombane Sandile, leader of the Ngqika chiefdom (western amaXhosa) in the 19th century. In1858 Emma and her brother were sent to the Anglican-run Zonnebloem College in Cape Town, founded by Governor Sir George Grey and Bishop Robert Gray to educate the children of the Xhosa elite. Emma remained at the college until 1863, where she wrote about her experiences - the first known writing in English by a Xhosa woman. 

In 1859 George Grey granted her ownership of a farm in the Eastern Cape, making her the first black woman private landowner in southern Africa. Later Emma taught at a mission in Grahamstown and became the second wife of Stokwe Ndela, a Mqwathi chief who was killed by the British during a revolt in 1881. Her husband left her land, and she successfully petitioned the Cape Colony Land Commission to receive the land in her name. When she died she left it to her four daughters and one son.

Dr Janet Hodgson lectured in Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town before moving to the UK in 1987, where she worked as a mission theologian. Now retired, she lives in Somerset West.