A World of Their Own

Reviews for A World of Their Own: A History of South African Women's Education

Elizabeth Schmidt, Choice: “This first book-length investigation of African women’s education in the making of modern South Africa uses KwaZulu-Natal’s Inanda Seminary as a lens… Building on pre-existing traditions of women’s social leadership and moral authority and defying social and political constraints, they seized opportunities offered in feminized professions to forge leadership roles in the changing South African society. Based on documents obtained from state and missionary archives and private collections, African newspapers, and dozens of interviews, this clearly written account highlights African women’s voices and perspectives.” 

Teresa Barnes, The American Historical Review: “A savvy book that identifies and fills a large hole in the social history of South African education... In Healy-Clancy’s hands, this hitherto untold story becomes a structure on which to pin larger questions about individual aspirations, community development, and political maneuvers. One of the book’s strengths is its narration of generational continuities in educational strategies, in many cases, from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter. These stories are told with verve and a keen ear for detail; and the women’s ‘world of their own’ comes alive.” 

Leslie Hadfield, The International Journal of African Historical Studies: “Meghan Healy-Clancy provides us with an important new perspective on women’s education through the history of the prominent Inanda Seminary. Drawing the narrative beyond apartheid, she demonstrates how ideologies and practices evolved over time as part of a longer stream of black women’s education, social leadership, and gender struggles... With its revealing educational statistics and exploration of a myriad of issues in addition to missionary and state ideals (including sexuality and protest), this work will undoubtedly serve as a foundation for future studies on women’s education in South Africa.”

The book may be purchased on Amazon, via the University of Virginia Press, or via the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.