DIRECTOR: THATI PEELE
Thati Peele is a South African statistician turned film director. Her short films ‘LERATO’ premiered at SXSW, travelled to over 15 film festivals and won her Best Director at the New York Fusion Film Festival. She is a Spike Lee Grant recipient and recently finished an internship at Universal Studios. Thati is in pre-production of her N.Y.U. thesis film ‘The Extraterrestrial Tales’ a proof of concept for her first feature 'Proxima' a sci-fi comedy about a group of young people saving the world for all the wrong reasons.
"Charlote Maxeke has been a significant presence in my adult life. In 1905 this former schoolteacher became the first black South African woman to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The obstacle of extreme poverty aside, this era was the dawn of oppressive apartheid laws that denied people of colour their rights and any tools for social mobility. In moments of difficulty in my cinematic journey, I think upon her as we have walked a similar path. This formidable woman rejected notions of racial inferiority and patriarchy to further her education in the USA; something then unheard of for any person of colour, male or female. Charlotte Maxeke’s experience and determination led her to form a South African women’s movement that was integral to our nation’s unification. I surely would not be here were it not for her courage and foresight. She is a constant inspiration and a well from which I frequently draw strength."
Charlotte Maxeke was born on 7 April 1847 in Fort Beaufort in Cape Town. She finished primary school early and her parents moved to Kimberly where Maxeke completed her secondary school. Maxeke then travelled to Wilberforce University in Ohio, USA on a church scholarship. Here she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree becoming the first black South African woman to do so. Upon her return to South Africa, Maxeke took up teaching and took part in political activities in the African National Congress (ANC). She co-founded the Bantu Women’s League of South Africa, later renamed the ANC Women’s League. Maxeke died on 16 October 1939. Johannesburg Hospital has been renamed the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in honor of her contribution to the freedom struggle.