Each year on the 9th of August, South Africans of all backgrounds, races and cultural groups join together in celebrating National Women’s Day. This annual public holiday commemorates an eventful day in South Africa’s history – 9 August 1956.

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It was on the 9th of August 1956 that some 20 000 brave woman began a campaign to bring an end to the pass laws enforced by the government of the time by marching to the Union Buildings and handing over a petition with over 100 000 signatures to Prime Minister JG Strijdom’s office.This eventful march was lead by Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Lilian Ngoyi (Strijdom Square was renamed Lilian Ngoyi Square in her honor during the 2006 Women’s Day celebrations), Rahima Moosa and Helen Joseph (born in England, she was a major anti-apartheid activist).  After handing in these documents at his office the women stood quietly outside for about 30 minutes. And Soon the women began to sing a protest song with words which translated into “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”. Indeed, these words show the immense courage and strength of these women.

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Women’s Day emphasises the role of women in the struggle for freedom and equality in South Africa and acknowledges their ongoing struggle against exploitation and abuse. 

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I’ll leave you with some wise words from Eleanor Roosevelt – You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Happy Women’s day for the 9th of August 2012!  Make it a memorable one!


P.S. Please leave a comment below and join this conversation.


By +Chantelle Wasserman


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