Nokutela Mdima was born in the Colony of Natal at Inanda, one of the leading stations of the American Zulu Mission, not far north of the port of Durban.  The exact date of her birth is elusive; the year was about 1872. She explained many years later that her name was derived from the Zulu verb ukuthela (to pay taxes).  The choice of name suggests she was born early in the calendar year at the time of harvest, when the colonial government collected annual taxes from the African inhabitants of Natal, and in itself is an interesting example of indigenization: most Christian parents at the time gave their children distinctly biblical or missionary names. 
Her parents were already converts to Christianity. Her father, Simon Mdima, had schooled at the seminary at Amanzimtoti Mission, which in time came to be better known as Adams College. There he met her mother, who converted to Christianity while working in the home of David Rood, a clergyman. Nokutela later noted that one of her grandfathers had obtained his favorite wife by means of ilobolo of one hundred head of cattle, thus indicating considerable wealth, while one of her grandmothers, of humble birth, had attracted only ten cattle.  Nokutela had other siblings, at least two sisters and two brothers. 
She received her earliest formal education at the day school at Inanda, where her parents were then living. Not long after, however, they moved down the south coast of Natal to a farm called Intimbankulu; several Inanda families, including the Dubes, were involved in a struggling land syndicate there.  At the age of eight she walked all the way back to Inanda Seminary, the girls’ boarding school established in 1869 by the American Zulu Mission (AZM). The story of Inanda Seminary has been told elsewhere; suffice to note here that its intention was to educate girls for a life as useful Christian wives and mothers.  It served as a companion institution to Adams College, where men received training for ordination. Women were also encouraged, however, to prepare for professional employment, such as nursing and teaching. These dual roles, of homemaker and public example, implied an onerous responsibility for women.
Extremely unusually, a school essay of Nokutela’s survives and demonstrates a first attempt in English. It was sent to the Rice County Journal in Northfield, Minnesota, by Ida Wilcox, wife of William C. Wilcox, as part of a series of letters on her missionary experiences in southern Africa. Again unusually, she names the author: it is striking how infrequently missionaries did name their converts in reports and correspondence (a particular hindrance for biographers). Thanks then to Ida Wilcox, we have this fragment of a direct connection to the young schoolgirl, aged about eleven, from her essay titled “My Home”:
We live in Africa, there are many people here. Some are good, and some are wicked. They know how to read. There are a great many who have waggons, oxen, goats, sheep and some other things. Some are rich and some are poor. Those who are poor are jealous for the things of those who are rich. Their food are these, mealies, potatoes and other things. There are a few who are diligent, their houses look so clean and nice; and some are bad. In our homes we sleep down upon mats, and some people buy beds to sleep. We don’t use to eat upon tables, we placed our food down, then we eat again; we don’t used spoons all days. If a person had no children, he troubled very much, because boys can plough for him, and do all their father tells them to. 
Beginning in the early 1880s, Nokutela spent eleven years at Inanda Seminary, part as scholar and part as teacher, by her own declaration one of the most formative experiences of her life: “I always thought there was more for me to learn, and always wanted to know more. . . . During the early part of my time at the Seminary I was converted.”  Her conversion may have been especially encouraged by the unofficial school chaplain, Maziyana Mdima, very possibly Nokutela’s uncle.  She also came under the care and influence of Mary Kelly Edwards, the founding head, who was often at odds with the AZM over matters such as its financial support for the school, which she regarded as inadequate, and the social distance to be observed between white missionaries and their African charges, which she thought overly proscriptive.  She also had brushes with colonial officialdom over the fate of so-called “runaways,” girls who left their fathers’ homesteads without permission to attend the seminary. 
Edwards presided over something of a “total institution,” a minutely time-tabled life of Christian learning and service. During Nokutela’s time at the seminary, most of the scholars were, like her, from Christian homes. Between forty and sixty girls were in residence at any one time. Five formal grades completed the school program, with an additional two years for those who wished to stay on to teach. One of the teachers gave a detailed sense of the daily round of lessons.
The instruction is given as far as possible in English. . . . More time is spent on the Bible than on any other book, as it is a daily study through the entire course. “Line upon Line” is used in the first year; then the Bible itself is the text book; the whole of the Old Testament history is taken up, also parts of the prophetical and poetical books, then, “Harmony of the Gospels” and Acts. The stories are read, then written by the pupils, and copied after correction. It is a great pleasure to teach these lessons, it is so easy to interest them, and they often ask a great many questions.
Arithmetic is studied through Interest and Proportion; Language Lessons and Grammar occupy considerable time—Geography also. Besides these, the course includes a little of English History, Physiology, and Physical Geography. 
In addition to class attendance, the girls had to grow food, chop wood for fuel, fetch water, help with cooking, keep the premises clean, and sew their own clothes. Nokutela gained great prowess as a needlewoman and later had occasion to note how important this skill was in encouraging women to become active in the church. The girls also had to support Sunday schools and otherwise assist as far as possible in the sustenance of the school: fees were ninty shillings a year, but many were unable to pay. Midway through her time there, the Inspector of Native Education noted in his report on the seminary:
The scholars are neat and clean without exception. All are well instructed in Needlework, and cutting out; they make clothes in aid of the mission at Inhambane, wash, iron and receive special instruction in household duties. . . . [It] may fairly claim to be a model institution. 
In 1911 Nokutela was the one who spoke on behalf of the “old girls” on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary celebrations of the American Board in South Africa; to have performed in such a role suggests that she had been a model herself. She commended Principal Edwards in these terms:
Those who later set up homes of their own could easily be distinguished from those who had never been under your influence. Now we your daughters are scattered all over the country, but we can never forget your teaching. You taught us to be good children and to know the Almighty. You taught us things to think about both in joy and sorrow; neither can we forget the sympathy which you have shown in all that concerns our people. We shall always remember the comfort and advice you have never failed to give us in time of need. 
The seminary offered Nokutela the most comprehensive education then available in Natal for young women of any race. Once having completed her schooling, she taught for a few years, including a period at Amanzimtoti, before her marriage in January 1894 to John Langalibalele Dube. The Dubes were by far the most prominent Christian family in Inanda.  John’s father, James, had been one of the earliest converts, as well as one of the first ordained pastors, of the AZM. He had prospered through his transport riding (hauling freight long distance by means of oxen and wagons) and farming businesses and never drew any salary from the church. John enrolled at Adams College, where he encountered William Wilcox and under his influence converted to Christianity. After James Dube’s sudden death in 1877, Wilcox became a father figure to the young John and was instrumental in arranging for his travel to the United States in 1888 in pursuit of his dream of becoming a doctor. This he never realized; however, he did spend four years in Oberlin College’s Preparatory Department. Failing health forced him to return home, but not before he had embarked on his first attempts at preaching and fundraising for missionary work in Africa. At age twenty-one, he also saw his first publication, A Talk upon My Native Land, into print. 
Soon after their marriage the Dubes embarked on an unusual missionary venture of their own: to establish a mission at Incwadi, a 9000-acre farm situated inland, to the west of Pietermaritzburg. It belonged to the Qadi chiefdom under Chief Mqhawe, to whom Dube was closely related. The invitation to Incwadi had come from Chief Mqhawe himself and so was not a formal AZM initiative. But neither was it undertaken in opposition to the AZM. The venture had the full support of Mary Edwards, and both John and Nokutela had been faithful servants of the AZM to this point. These factors helped to invest their approach with legitimacy.
Several of the young women in Nokutela’s extended family were also engaged in missionary ventures far from home; they represented a generation of innovators in church and public life, performing roles quite unlike any that women had played before in Zulu-speaking society. Her cousin Selina, who had also schooled at Inanda Seminary, was at Inhambane by the mid-1890s, engaged in work for the East Central African Mission that the Wilcoxes had begun. Another cousin, Ntoyi, was Edwards’s assistant at Inanda; and helped her to open a hostel for African women in Durban, also in the mid-1890s.
The Dubes were accompanied to Incwadi by Nokutela’s brother John Mdima, also an AZM teacher, and his wife. Despite their autonomy, their conduct at Incwadi adhered closely to that of the American missionaries, stimulating interest through preaching on Sundays. Their first services attracted large, curious crowds, and within a year they had established a day school with 100 children in attendance, a congregation of 27, and classes to teach women how to look after “civilized” homes and families. Their next plan was to launch an industrial institution for those completing primary school. 
To make this happen they travelled together to the United States in 1895. Leaving the Mdimas in charge at Incwadi, they based themselves in Brooklyn at the Union Missionary Training Institute (UMTI) and set to acquiring further education and travelling extensively to plead for funds. It was rare enough at that time for an African man to be addressing both white and black audiences in the United States, but rarer still for a woman such as Nokutela to be doing so. By all accounts, she spoke with poise and conviction, and also sang. The power of her voice was frequently remarked upon, and her singing played a significant part in their success in attracting donations. Her general course at UMTI included domestic subjects, as well some medicine and music; she believed that “music is a great power among our people, and God has opened the way for me to learn better how to sing into their hearts and teach them to sing of Jesus.”  In addition, she took singing and piano lessons with two Brooklyn-based music teachers, Miss Granger and Mrs. Grindal. 
The Dubes were active in church life in Brooklyn, frequently performing together, John speaking and Nokutela singing; increasingly through these years she began to speak too. On their travels, they visited the South, where Nokutela was shocked by plantation conditions and the poverty she saw. They visited Tuskegee Institute and were introduced at a commencement ceremony by Booker T. Washington himself; they also performed at Hampton Institute in Virginia. They travelled in the North as well. Nokutela was especially delighted at the gift of a sewing machine from the congregation at Seneca Castle in upstate New York.
In the interests of fundraising she gave press interviews, in which she displayed a gentle sense of humor:
When I first came to America the cities and the many houses confused me. I am used to the open land, and the streets seem strange. But in two years I am no longer confused, and I wear such clothes as you, and boots and corsets, and I stay always in the house, and I do not tell how long I have lived. I am like Americans in two years. 
By 1899 the couple had completed their studies (John had also been ordained) and raised some $4,600, and were ready to return to Incwadi. For various reasons, however—not least because John was appointed pastor of the Inanda Church—they began to build their new industrial school at Inanda. From the start, Nokutela played a leading role.  She headed both the domestic and music departments, and under her leadership Ohlange Institute became famous for the musicians it produced, such as Reuben Caluza, as well as for her choir, the Inanda Native Singers. Furthermore, Nokutela became the first published African woman composer. In 1911, the Dubes’ Amagama Abantu (Zulu songs) appeared. She had arranged the music and John the lyrics in this collection, historic also as the first secular songbook published in an African language in South Africa. Referring to the final song in the collection, “Umthandazo Wasapho iwaOhlange” (A prayer for the children at Ohlange), Tsitsi Jaji points to a broader significance:
It is no coincidence that this final song is very similar to the music and lyrics of Enoch Sontonga’s “Nkosi sikelel’iAfrika” which would serve as an anthem of the SANNC and later the ANC. Its inclusion, along with a song with explicit calls to various ethnic groups to unify, “Wonk Um’nt’ontsundu” (The whole brown community), demonstrates that the Dubes saw group singing as part of a political education as well as school training. 
More mundanely but of great importance in the lives of the scholars, Nokutela also oversaw the cooking of school meals. Quality of food was a frequent cause of bitterness and even rebellion at African boarding schools; yet as one pupil remembered, “The diet was second to none, the stew or soup being prepared in the Principal’s kitchen under the supervision of his wife. Ohlange was known for good meals and good health.” 
There is some evidence that she played a role in the founding of Ilanga lase Natal, the paper most closely associated with John Dube’s name. She certainly helped to maintain it indirectly, since it was dependent on the school itself for the resources to keep it afloat, and the school in turn derived income from her fundraising labors, both her own musical performances and those of the choir.
Through the offices of one of their most significant local benefactors, the sugar baron and politician Marshall Campbell, the Dubes performed for visiting delegates of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1905. The association had decided to hold its seventy-fifth annual conference in South Africa as a symbolic confirmation of the spirit of empire, following the devastation of the South African War. After meetings in Cape Town, delegates took various excursions through the country before reconvening in Johannesburg. Most travelled to Durban, under the leadership of the association’s president, Professor Sir George Darwin (son of Charles Darwin). Campbell hosted a lavish reception for the group, during which Nokutela and the Inanda Native Singers performed. Her “particularly clear soprano” voice attracted frequent applause. John was then called on to address the assembled delegates, the only African to do so through their entire South African visit. Darwin was greatly impressed. 
The Dubes embarked on another overseas trip in 1909. They spent some time in the United Kingdom, assisted by the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines’ Protection Society and a number of leading nonconformist churchmen of the time, who all endorsed their work. Among them were R. Wardlaw Thompson, foreign secretary of the London Missionary Society; D. Burford Hooke, secretary of the Colonial Missionary Society; Frederick B. Meyer, one of the most influential evangelical preachers of his day and prominent in the Keswick Movement (founded in 1875 to promote social and spiritual purity in the face of moral decline, and in which Arthur Tappan Pierson was also heavily involved) and president of the World’s Sunday School Convention; and Robert F. Horton, lately president of the National Free Church Council and minister-in-charge of the Lyndhurst Road Congregational Church in Hampstead. 
While in London, the Dubes also met with the visiting Schreiner delegation and through it, made the acquaintance of a number of prominent public figures.  Among them were Jane Cobden Unwin, suffragist daughter of the radical statesman Richard Cobden and wife of T. Fisher Unwin. Unwin was Olive Schreiner’s publisher and agreed also to publish a pamphlet that the Dubes had prepared for this visit. Another was Betty Molteno, who had been an educationist herself, the principal of the Collegiate School for Girls in Port Elizabeth beginning in the late 1880s. Both Molteno and her lifelong partner, Alice Greene, who had joined the staff of the Collegiate School in 1887, had left their posts because of their pro-Boer sympathies in the South African War. They were also close friends of Olive Schreiner’s.
Molteno and Greene began supporting Ohlange from this time, and the Dubes soon built them a small cottage in the school grounds. The two became very friendly with Nokutela in particular; on one visit to Ohlange in 1913, Betty Molteno declared that she was Nokutela’s guest.  In this way, Nokutela became part of an international network of radical women campaigning for African and Indian rights throughout the British Empire.
In their efforts to raise money in Britain, the Dubes were particularly anxious, they said, for agricultural land, farm implements, and more accommodation for boarders. As always, John spoke and Nokutela sang. They visited various churches and halls in London, Sheffield, and Nottingham, wherever they had been invited through the good offices of their sponsors. In February 1910, they departed for New York. They travelled in the South, New England, and Minnesota, and possibly ventured into Canada. They returned to Natal later in 1910.
As is well known, John Dube was elected first president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) on that body’s formation in 1912, partly in recognition of these remarkable achievements. What is less well known is the equally significant role played by Nokutela; her contributions probably favored his election. She was well liked and highly respected by other Congress leaders—by Pixley kaIsaka Seme for one example. Moreover, while the presidency frequently took John away on Congress business, Nokutela, her brother John Mdima, and her brother-in-law Charles Dube continued to form the backbone of Ohlange.
This apparent success, particularly for Nokutela, came to an abrupt end in 1914, while John was leading the SANNC delegation abroad to protest the effects of the 1913 Land Act. News escaped that a young Inanda woman had borne him a child, of which he had apparently admitted parental responsibility. The baby died, however, and a local investigative committee cleared him of indiscretion. Rumors had circulated earlier about his fathering children by other women; the tragedy of the situation was that he and Nokutela were unable to have children of their own. John Dube’s actions, both at the time and subsequently, suggest that he felt keenly that his manhood had been compromised. For Nokutela, the pressures to fulfill the rightful role of Christian marriage were nigh unbearable. As her school essay shows, from a young age she had been aware of the calamity of childlessness.
Sympathies were divided locally between Nokutela and John (and probably even within her family, for John Mdima remained close to John Dube). She found it impossible to remain in Inanda and withdrew to a farm near Wakkerstroom in the Transvaal, where John and several others in her circle owned land. Evidence of her movements for this period has thus far been elusive, so this part of her story is hard to complete. She also seems to have spent time at Piet Retief and Msobotyeni and to have kept in touch with some former associates, such as Cleopas Kunene, founding editor of Abantu-Batho newspaper,  and Jwili Gumede, a teacher in Inanda. John Dube, probably becoming ever more desperate for a family, initiated divorce proceedings against her and obtained a provisional decree in March 1916, citing as the reason her infidelity.  He does not, however, seem to have made the matter public; he may have reckoned that doing so might have provoked more trouble for him.
Then in the first weeks of 1917, Nokutela became seriously ill with a kidney infection. A worried neighbor phoned John Dube, who was in Sophiatown at the time and who arranged transport for her to Johannesburg. She was cared for by Dr. William Godfrey, a friend of Gandhi’s, and Anna Victoria Mangena, wife of Alfred Mangena, one of the earliest African advocates practicing in Johannesburg. Both were from Natal (Godfrey from Durban and Mangena from Maphumulo) and had probably been previously known to the Dubes; Mangena (born Ntuli) had schooled at Inanda Seminary.  In spite of their efforts, Nokutela died on January 26, 1917.
Her funeral in Johannesburg was very large, attended by most of the SANNC executive, including Saul Msane and Pixley kaIsaka Seme, and several came from the Natal branch of Congress. Other prominent figures such as Cleopas Kunene and Daniel Letanka (another editor of Abantu-Batho), the Mangenas, and Ray Phillips of the American Board came to pay their respects. John Dube and his aged mother Elizabeth, along with several of Nokutela’s relatives, led the mourners. Nokutela’s musical talents and contributions to the founding of Ohlange Institute were specially remembered in the service. She was buried in Brixton Cemetery, in grave number CK9763. In the dehumanizing arrangements of the time, even after death, the “CK” stood for “Christian Kaffir.” 
Her death seems to have reawakened great sadness about the fate she had suffered, and this sense of an injustice done to her, together with mounting frustrations with John Dube’s leadership, probably contributed to his downfall as Congress president just months later. In a “who’s who” published either later in 1917 or early in 1918, she was remembered with a fine photograph bearing the caption,
This woman was a founder of the Ohlange school and the newspaper Ilanga lase Natal, as well as composer of the Zulu songs that were sung at Ohlange. This work was undertaken with her husband, Mafukuzela. She died in January 1917. 
Nokutela’s unmarked grave remained forgotten for ninety-three years, until efforts were initiated in 2010 to identify it, as well as to locate surviving relatives. Much of this work of rediscovery was led by documentary filmmaker Cherif Keita, who had previously produced a film about John Dube, Oberlin-Inanda, and was then working on one about Nokutela.  Mention should also be made of Stephen Coan, a journalist for The Witness who took a strong interest in the Dubes’ story and wrote a number of detailed press features, covering most of the events recounted below.
In 2011, with the sympathetic help of Alan Buff, the manager of Johannesburg Parks, and gravedigger Rufus Lekhuanye, Nokutela’s exact gravesite was identified. While filming in the Inanda area, Keita stumbled upon several of her surviving relatives, including a great-niece also named Nokutela. In 2012, many of those relatives, joined by direct descendants of Angeline and John Dube, gathered in the Brixton Cemetery to unveil a proper tombstone.  The following year, in 2013, Nokutela was posthumously awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Satyagraha Award by the Gandhi Development Trust at a ceremony in the Durban City Hall.  In 2014, Nokutela’s grave was declared a National Heritage Site and her story received considerable publicity on the BBC World Service and in other media sources.  During Women’s Month (August) in 2016, she was inducted into Freedom Park, a national memorial for those who gave their lives for freedom, as well as standing as a celebration of African culture.  Finally, two significant events occurred in January 2017. Keita presented the Durban Local History Museums with an antique Autoharp of exactly the kind Nokutela would have played, and on January17, the centenary of her death, a special commemoration was held at her grave. 
Editor’s note: This biography is excerpted from the chapter “Recovering the Lives of African Women Leaders in South Africa: The Case of Nokutela Dube” in African Christian Biography: Stories, Lives and Challenges, ed. by Dana L. Robert (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications, 2018), 194-214.
- American Zulu Mission was the official name of the local field of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
- Nokutela Dube, “The Story of My Life,” Life and Light for Women 28 (1898), 110–12.
- For a useful discussion of naming, see Meghan Healy and Eva Jackson, “Practices of Naming and the Possibilities of Home on American Zulu Mission Stations in Colonial Natal,” Journal of Natal and Zulu History 29 (2011): 1–19.
- “Ideas of a Zulu Woman,” Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1899, 8.
- Details such as these are not set out anywhere and require much piecing together. John Mdima is probably the best-recorded of her siblings, continuing as he did to occupy a high profile at Ohlange. Another probable brother was called Cornelius. She had a sister called Augusta, noted as such at the time of her death, and we know that another sister was married to Elka Cele, prominent in the early years of the African National Congress (ANC). Sources for the reconstruction of family names include Ilanga lase Natal and the Inanda Seminary Archive Collection at Inanda Seminary, especially File 1a.
- G. G. Nxaba, “The Life of Dr. John Langalibalele Dube,” Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives, 1810–1961, ABC 77.1 (Dube, John), Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Nxaba was related to Nokutela through his mother Ntoyi, Nokutela’s cousin. The story of her conversion to Christianity is told in Meghan Elisabeth Healy, “‘To Control Their Destiny’: The Politics of Home and the Feminisation of Schooling in Colonial Natal, 1885–1910,” Journal of Southern African Studies 37, no. 2 (2011): 250.
- See Healy-Clancy, A World of Their Own; Agnes A. Wood, “Shine Where You Are”: A Centenary History of Inanda Seminary, 1869–1969 (Alice, South Africa: Lovedale, 1972); Heather Hughes, “‘A Lighthouse for African Womanhood’: Inanda Seminary 1869–1945,” in Walker, Women and Gender in Southern Africa to 1945, 197–220.
- Ida Wilcox, letter dated May 2, 1882, published in Rice County Journal, n.d.; I thank Cherif Keita for this news clip.
- Dube, “Story of My Life,” 111.
- Wood, Shine Where You Are, 47.
- See Sara C. Jorgensen, “Bad Examples: Missionary Misbehaviour as an Indicator of the Impact of Social Distance and the Evolution of Social Order in the American Zulu Mission,” Journal of Southern African Studies 40, no. 2 (2014): 273.
- See Healy, “‘To Control Their Destiny,’” 247–64.
- M. E. Price, “Inanda Seminary,” Life and Light for Women 15, no. 5 (1885): 163.
- F. B. Fynney, cited in Wood, Shine Where You Are, 37.
- Nokutela Dube, speech cited in Wood, Shine Where You Are, 70–71.
- Heather Hughes, First President: A Life of John Dube, Founding President of the ANC (Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2011), chap. 1.
- John Langalibalele Dube, A Talk upon My Native Land (Rochester, NY: Swinburne, 1892); see Hughes, First President, chap 2.
- Dube, “Story of My Life,” 113.
- Dube, “Story of My Life,” 113.
- Dube, “Story of My Life,” 113. She also learned to play the Autoharp; see below.
- Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1899.
- In First President I made an initial attempt to argue that recognition for John’s achievements should be shared with Nokutela. Material that has come to light since supports this view.
- Tsitsi Jaji, “Re-collecting the Musical Politics of John and Nokutela Dube,” Safundi 13, nos. 3–4 (2012): 219. “SANNC” is the acronym for the South African Native National Congress; in 1923 the name was changed to African National Congress (ANC).
- Nxaba, “Life of Dr John Langalibalele Dube.”
- Report in Natal Mercury, August 24, 1905.
- Hughes, First President, 152; “Lyndhurst Road News Sheet,” January 1910, 9, available at Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, Camden Library, London.
- Led by William P. Schreiner, the delegation was protesting the exclusion of black people from the franchise in the 1909 Union of South Africa Act. See André Odendaal, The Founders: The Origins of the ANC and the Struggle for Democracy in South Africa (Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2012), chap. 46.
- Catherine Corder and Martin Plaut, “Gandhi’s Decisive South African 1913 Campaign: A Personal Perspective from the Letters of Betty Molteno,” South African Historical Journal 66, no. 1 (2014): 12.
- Peter Limb, “A Centenary History of Abantu-Batho, the People’s Paper,” in The People’s Paper: A Centenary History and Anthology of Abantu-Batho, ed. Peter Limb (Johannesburg: Wits Univ. Press, 2012), 19.
- Nicolson to Colenso, August 4, 1916, A204 (Colenso Papers), Box 55, KwaZulu-Natal Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg.
- Victoria Mangena was one of the first qualified African nurses in South Africa and the first to practice in the Transvaal. See Skota, African Yearly Register, 181–82; E. J. Verwey, ed., New Dictionary of South African Biography (Pretoria: HSRC, 1995), 1:154.
- Hughes, First President, 195–96.
- iAlmanaka lika Bantu-Batho (1917/18), A1618 Skota Papers, University of the Witwatersrand Historical Records; this note (image C3-1-45-2-001) constitutes one of the few pages, miraculously and fortunately, to survive. Mafukuzela (one who stirs things up) was John Dube’s praise name. See also Limb, “Centenary History,” 29.
- Cheick Mahamadou Chérif Keïta, Paul Hager, and Ngangura Mweze, Oberlin-Inanda: The Life and Times of John L. Dube (DVD; St. Paul, MN: Media Lab Africa, 2005); Cheick Mahamadou Chérif Keïta, uKukhumbula uNokutela = Remembering Nokutela* (DVD; St. Paul, MN: Media Lab Africa, 2013). A clip of the latter film can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=T58J6qERrY4.
- “Nokutela Dube’s Headstone Unveiled,” Eyewitness News, 2012, http://ewn.co.za/2012/08/11/Nokutela-Dube-headstone-unveiled.
- Stephen Coan, “Remember to Call at My Grave,” News24, August 16, 2013, www.news24.com/Archives/Witness/Remember-to-call-at-my-grave-20150430.
- See Kha Ri Ambe, October 2013, p. 13; Martin Vennard, “The Pioneering Woman the World Forgot,” BBC News, June 13, 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27702630.
- “Freedom Park Pays Homage to Nokutela Dube,” South African Government News Agency, www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/freedom-park-pays-homage-nokutela-dube.
- Sinothi Thabethe, “Nokutela’s Musical Autoharp Is Finally Back Home, Durban,” Durban Local History Museums, January 30, 2017, http://durbanhistorymuseums.org.za/nokutela-dubes-musical-antoharp-finally-back-home-durban. Stephen Coan, “Nokutela Dube Remembered,” The Witness, January 30, 2017, www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-witness/20170130/281509340908852.
This biography, published in 2018, was written by Heather Hughes, professor of Southern African studies at the University of Lincoln in England. Her academic career began at the University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) in Durban, South Africa, where she taught African studies. Her publications include Women in Southern Africa: A Bibliography (Univ. of Natal, 1991) and, more recently, First President: A Life of John Dube, Founding President of the ANC (Jacana Media, 2011).