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Kelly Boyer Sagert

Born in Hamburg, Germany, Ottilie Assing was the eldest daughter of David and Rosa Maria (Varnhagen) Assing. Her mother was an energetic teacher with a flair for singing and storytelling; her father was a well-known doctor who penned poetry and was prone to depression. David, born with the surname of Assur, was raised as an Orthodox Jew but associated with Christians. He and Rosa, who was not Jewish, raised Ottilie and her younger sister, Ludmilla, as "freethinking atheists, as true daughters of the Enlightenment, who saw themselves as members of a universal human race of thought and reason." They saw education as a "secular form of individual salvation."

Assing's life was not always easy; she witnessed savage anti-Jewish riots, and by the age of twenty-three she had lost both parents. In 1842 she and her sister moved from their hometown to live with an uncle Ludmilla adapted ...

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Meghan Healy-Clancy

was born in rural Gqubeni in South Africa’s Eastern Cape on 7 January 1920. A descendent of Xhosa royalty and a fourth-generation Christian, she grew up in a proud family of farmers and teachers, educated in mission schools. In her youth few young women reached university, and those who did were most likely to return to teach near home. Ntantala, who left for the University of Fort Hare as a precocious fifteen-year-old, was to lead a more cosmopolitan life than most Transkei women—both by choice, and by apartheid’s cruel fate.

Ntantala’s life was shaped profoundly by one of her classmates at Fort Hare: A. C. Jordan. An experienced teacher thirteen years older than Ntantala, Jordan tried unsuccessfully to court her at Fort Hare. He then recruited her to teach with him at a high school in Kroonstad, Free State, where they formed an enduring intellectual partnership, marrying in 1939 ...