Dr. Margaret Nash
South African Women Activists Celebrated

© Tracey Derrick

Dr. Margaret Nash was an English-born anti-apartheid activist and feminist. She was a prominent member of the Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA), the Black Sash and the South African Council of Churches and Christian Institute. She devoted her life to helping others and capturing the struggle for liberation in South Africa through her writing. Her motto was ‘to live simply so that others can simply live’.

Liberation Through Faith

Margaret Nash was born in Milford on Sea, England in 1929. In January 1931, her family emigrated to Durban, South Africa. She obtained a teaching degree at Rhodes University at the age of 16 and later obtained her Ph.D. in Theology at the University of Cape Town.

In 1960, Dr. Nash started her political activism by joining the Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA). She was a member of various anti-Apartheid organisations, such as the Black Sash and the Christian Institute, where she pursued feminist ideals. She was also involved in the Anglican Board of Social Responsibility and the South African Council of Churches. Through her faith and intellect, Nash supported the liberation movement during the apartheid regime.

She was best known for her written reports on living conditions of people under apartheid in South Africa. Her report was instrumental in ensuring that the Forced Removals Act was soon after abolished. She continued to write on social issues throughout the 1980’s.

After 1994, Dr. Nash used her time and energy to campaign for a gun-free South Africa during the transition from apartheid to democracy, when violence was at its height.

Dr.Nash passed away in 2011 at St Luke’s hospice after a long illness. She continues to be celebrated for her work during the struggle for liberation and her tenacious and fearless personality when standing up against the apartheid regime.