National Council of African Women

About Us


National Council of African Women is a charitable organization whose focus is helping the needy.  The aim of NCAW is service to humanity. It is for this reason that it adopted from the International Council of Women the motto: “Do to others what you would want them to do to you.”

The NCAW consists of several branches that combine to form a region and all regions are ultimately responsible to the Parent Body which holds supreme and final authority in all matters of policy.

Since 1966, the annual conference has been rotated between the various regions.

NCAW History

The National Council of African women was born out of “struggle” that occurred in South Africa, mid 1935-37.  Prime Minister JBM Hertzog passed the Representation of Natives Bill and the Native Trust, specifically known as the “Hertzog Bills”.  These bills were not pleasing to either the whites or Native citizens of South Africa. The Whites felt that too much was being handed over to the Natives at their expense, and the Natives were not pleased because they felt they had not been given enough. Most importantly, these bills disenfranchised the black citizens, specifically the Cape Colored population who had enjoyed voting rights and the hopes of other African nations who were looking forward to the right to vote.

The “Bantu World” newspaper called on the various existing African organizations to unite and strategize ways to protest and to oppose these bills. Thus, the All Africa Convention of various representatives came together. The convention met several times but very little was accomplished because the men were stymied by debates over leadership and strategy.  Miss Minah Tembekile Soga had a vision that there was a role for the women to play in the “struggle”. Ms. Soga took the initiative to steer the focus of the women toward issues of the social welfare of their respective communities. Thus, the National Council of African Women was formed by this gathering of concerned women. The founding members were memorialized in a photograph taken by Mr. Dan Skota. Among those pictured were Miss M. T. Soga, Mrs. M. Sesedi, Mrs. A. W. Kuse, and Mrs. C. M. Maxeke, Miss E. P. Hlahle, Mesdame Qupe and Demas of Evaton.

At the first conference held in December of 1937, Mrs. Charlotte Makgomo Maxeke who was addressed as the “Mother of African freedom” was elected president.  Since that time 17 other women have served as President with varying tenures, and each has been a true MOTHER to the cause.

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