Anna 'Sister Nannie' Tempo, was born of a slave mother and father who were kidnapped as children off the coast of Mozambique. She was born in the late 1870s and grew up in Worcester. One day in 1884, a Christian lady by the name of Miss Schreiner, who later became Mrs Stakeby-Lewis), asked Anna's mother if she could take her daughter into her service, and her mother agreed. Early in her career with Miss Schreiner, Anna struggled to feel convinced by the Christian faith, but was soon brought around by an incident in which she recovered from being gravely sick, and attributed this convalescence to the power of a higher being.
For the rest of her life, Sister Nannie, as she came to be known, assisted Miss Schreiner in her work running Christian workshops under the banner of the Gospel Temperance. These workshops had a missionising purpose, and also aimed to steer members of the Worcester community away from the temptations of alcohol. Indeed, Nannie's own father, a certain William Tempo, one day stumbled into a Gospel Temperance meeting and was saved from his destructive alcoholism with which his daughter was only too familiar. Following the success of these meetings, Miss Schreiner expanded the enterprise to include the rest of the Western Cape, and took Nannie along with her.
In 1888, Miss Schreiner went even further afield, to Australia, England, and the United States, again taking Nannie with her. Upon returning from these travels, Miss Schreiner and her charge settled in Cape Town. Shortly afterwards Miss Schreiner dies and Nannie spent a period in Ireland working as a nurse to the family of a colonel. In 1914 Nannie returned to Cape Town to continue the work begun by her matron and benefactor. However, Nannie redirected her energies into what she called 'rescue work.' She would go out alone each night after midnight into brothels and down to the docks looking for prostitutes to convert and save from the dangers of the streets. Not long passed before Nannie was receiving donations so that she was able to establish a formal 'Rescue House.' This soon became an institution recognised by the Cape Town City Council and police. In 1937 Sister Nannie was honoured with the bestowal of one of King George's Coronation Medals in recognition of the work she had been doing in Cape Town.