Pixley ka Isaka Seme on completion of his law studies at Oxford University.

Durban - This Heritage Month, Independent Media is celebrating 20 greatest women and men of KwaZulu-Natal. 

The focus is on iconic figures in the province, who through their activism changed the path of the struggle against colonialism and apartheid. 

These are women and men whose legacy is an integral part of KZN's heritage.


 Pixley Seme was born on 1 October 1881 in Natal, the son of Isaka Sarah Seme. 

His memorable speech at Columbia University in 1906 on “The Regeneration of Africa” won him the university’s highest oratorical honour, the George William Curtis medal. The speech was circulated widely in South Africa and revealed Seme’s remarkable way with words. 

While in London in 1909, Seme followed deliberations about the Union of South Africa Bill (1909) that proposed a framework for the establishment of the Union of South Africa. His reaction to this development is articulated in another authoritative view on the future of South Africa.

More than any of the leading personalities of the time, Seme is considered the founder of the South African Native National Congress, the precursor of the ANC.