This article explores how South African women drew upon African American models of public engagement to articulate a locally meaningful racial identity, through an examination of the work of Cecilia Lillian Tshabalala. Born in Natal, Tshabalala moved to the United States in 1912. After attending the Hampton Institute, New Britain State Normal School, and the Moody Bible Institute, she taught at an African Methodist Episcopal Church girls’ school in Gold Coast (Ghana) and at black Congregationalist churches in Hartford and Brooklyn, before returning to South Africa in 1930. In 1932, Tshabalala launched a women’s club movement, the Daughters of Africa (DOA), premised on the African American women’s club movement. Members of the DOA not only organized social welfare activities including small enterprise, public health, and educational initiatives. They also wrote about these activities in African newspapers, articulating a model of women's public activism premised on their domestic authority. Focusing on Tshabalala’s writing in the Johannesburg-based Bantu World as the DOA expanded its operations through Natal and into the Witwatersrand in the latter half of the 1930s and the early 1940s, this article highlights the gendered possibilities of transatlantic racial kinship during a foundational period in African nationalism.