Fonds BC345 - M Ballinger Papers

Reference code



M Ballinger Papers


  • 1930-1970 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

4186 items

Name of creator


Biographical history

Violet Margaret Livingstone Ballinger (nee Hodgson) was born in Glasgow. She came to South Africa at the age of 10 and was educated in Port Elizabeth and obtained the degree of B.A.Hons in history at Rhodes University College. In 1914 she won the Victoria Scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford and was later awarded the MA degree in history. In 1921 she was appointed lecturer in history at the University of the Witwatersrand and was a gifted and inspiring lecturer. She resigned in 1934 after her marriage to William Ballinger, as the University did not recognize married women as permanent members of staff. The Representation of Natives Act of 1936 provided for three elected white members to represent African voters, and in 1937 Mrs Ballinger was returned for Cape Eastern, a constituency she represented for 23 years, until the representation of Africans in Parliament was abolished in 1960. Mrs Ballinger was one of the finest Parliamentarians of her day and a brilliant speaker. Towards the end of 1960, Nuffield College, Oxford, invited her as an Associate Fellow to write about her experiences as a Native representative. Her magnum opus 'From Union to Apartheid' was published in 1969. Mrs Ballinger was a founder member of the Liberal Party and its first President from 1954‑1956. As well as politics, Mrs Ballinger participated actively in education, health and welfare activities. She served on the Council of the University of Cape Town, 1966‑1972, the South African Nursing Council, the Council of the South African Institute of Race Relations, was President of the South African Association of University Women and served with the National Council of Women on all matters pertaining to African women. She was responsible for the establishment of the Margaret Ballinger Home for crippled and convalescent African children. In memory of her late husband she established five scholarships for African University students. In recognition of her outstanding Parliamentary and community services she was awarded honorary doctorates by the Universities of Cape Town (1962) and Rhodes (1964). She also received the Royal African Society medal for her dedicated services to the African people. Mrs Ballinger died in Cape Town on 7 February 1980.

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Scope and content

The V.M.L. Ballinger Papers were presented to the University of Cape Town Libraries in 1970, 1977‑78 and 1980 by Mrs Ballinger, and number 4 186 documents. The collection consists mainly of the personal papers of Margaret Ballinger, but includes a few papers of her husband, William Ballinger. Mrs Ballinger's papers consist of diaries, 1929‑1963; correspondence, 1930s ‑ 1970s; articles, addresses and speeches, 1930s ‑ 1970s; material relating to her book 'From Union to Apartheid'; material relating to her political, educational and welfare interests, as well as photographs, pamphlets and newspaper clippings, 1929‑1978.


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No restrictions apply

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Language of material

  • English

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Related units of description

These papers should be used .in conjunction with those in the possession of the Library of the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as with the W.G. Ballinger Papers (BC 347) in the University of Cape Town Libraries.

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  • English



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  • Shelf: 59a