Sunday, August 9, 2009

Women's Day in South Africa.

South Africa honors women every August 9th. The day is celebrated as a reminder of the contribution made by women to society, the achievements that have been made for women's rights, and to acknowledge the difficulties and prejudices many women still face.

Women Rule!

This day commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participating in a national march petitioned against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’).

Imagine over 20 000 women of all races and ages from every corner of South Africa marching together towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria. On 9 August 1956 these women were marching in protest against the pass laws that proposed even further restrictions on the movements of women.

The Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) organised the March, led by four women; Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophy Williams and Lilian Ngoyi. The leaders delivered petitions to Prime Minister JG Strijdom's office within the Union Buildings. Women throughout the country had put their names to these petitions indicating their anger and frustration at having their freedom of movement restricted by the hated official passes.

To conclude the Women's March the women sang freedom songs such as Nkosi sikeleli Afrika.

however, the song that became the anthem of the march was "Wathint' abafazi, Strijdom!"

wathint' abafazi,
wathint' imbokodo,
uza kufa!

[When] you strike the women,
you strike a rock,
you will be crushed [you will die]!

The march was a resounding success and we recognise the bravery of these women who risked arrest, detention and banning by declaring 9 August National Women’s Day.

We went to Newtown, a part of Johannesburg today to see what the celebrations was all about. Supposedly there was street music and other activities, but we didn't see anything. So we ended up going to Melville and have a nice lunch with some wine tasting. Although it is still winter, it was so warm today that we ate outside!

We had a nice and relaxing weekend, and tomorrow we are off to school to see in which classes the girls will be for their 2nd grade year. On Wednesday they will start school again.

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!
Love, M


plantagenet said...

Hi Mireille, thanks for sharing and info, its really nice to do so! Enjoyable pics of your USA tour and the girls are so big already. Oh I miss to not see you this year. Hope to manage next year. Start saving as soon as I return from US in Nov.

So good for you to make that trip and what a disappointment all the effort for the official part for nothing. Well, so you will have to do it again. Within the right time, when is that then?
anyway I am glad you are back in and enjoy your page. Love, Ginster

rosemary said...

Really cool holiday! Thanks for sharing the history with us.

Maci Miller said...

Wow, what a powerful march and great holiday to commemorate!


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