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Mrs Eleanor Xiniwe (née Ndwanya) of the African Choir, 1891. Photographed by London Stereoscopic Company studios.

Between 1891-1893 a group of young Africans singers toured Britain and North American as the ’ African Choir’. Inspired by Orpheus M. McAdoo’s Virginia Jubilee Singers, they were a Christian choir on a mission to raise funds for a technical school in Kimberley in the Cape Colony (South Africa). 

The Choir’s members included Paul Xiniwe and his wife Eleanor, Sannie Koopman, Charlotte Makhomo Manye, Johanna Jonkers, Josiah Semouse and a Miss Gwashu. 

Above: African Choir, London 1891. Photograph by The London Stereoscopic Company.
Charlotte Manye (first woman on the right) was 17 years old when the African Choir arrived in London. While on tour with the Choir in the US she was offered at scholarship at Wilberforce University, the African Methodist Episcopal Church university in Xenia, Ohio. She became the first South African woman to earn a Doctorate in Arts and Humanities and she was betrothed to a fellow graduate, Dr. Marshall Maxeke. 
Organisations that Dr Charlotte Manye Maxeke founded, including the the Bantu Women’s League and AME Church’s Widow’s Mite Society, were responsible for educating literally thousands of young Africans and campaigned for women’s rights in South Africa. She was an early and very active member of the African National Congress, writing much of their early literature, and a passionate advocate for African liberty.  
She died in 1939 at the age of 65. 

Above: Charlotte Makhomo Manye, aged 17 years old, The Illustrated London News, August 1891.   
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Kinee Diouf photographed by Viviane Sassen for AnOther Magazine F/W 2013
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Jakob Kolding · Untitled (Lying up), 2013, Digital print on birch veneer, 170 x 92 x 1 cm
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Louis-Léopold Boilly, Vase of Flowers (detail)
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