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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 ...