Celebrating Women’s Day ( South Africa) – AUG 9


Women’s Day (Public Holiday – South Africa)

“If you strike a woman, you strike a rock”

capetown rock paper

Every year on 9 August we celebrate Women’s Day in South Africa, a public holiday that pays homage to the women of our nation; – the mothers, the wives, the sisters and the daughters who fought tirelessly against the tyranny of the Apartheid government.

Inaugurated in 1994, along with a free, democratic South Africa, the public holiday commemorates a 1956 protest lead by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn. To rise up against the legislation that required black South Africans to carry the “pass” (special identification documents which infringed on their freedom of movement during the Apartheid era), approximately 20 000 women from all over the country took to the streets of Pretoria – many carrying the children of their white bosses on their backs – to stage a peaceful march to the Union Buildings.

After dropping off bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at Prime Minister J.G Strijdom’s offices, they stood in silence for thirty minutes. A song was composed in honour of this momentous occasion, “Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo!” (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock).

An inspiring display of political strength, female solidarity and inner fortitude, the march on August 9 1956 is both a reminder of the great women who helped mould South Africa and the trailblazing women who continue to lead the country forward.

Here is a brief run-down on the activities our partners undertook to celebrate International Women’s Day 2013.

sa 2013

SDCEA – South Africa
More than 50 south Durban women took on the street of Austerville drive to Quality Street, expressing and voice themselves out. Posters and placards were held up high with messages such as ‘Stop Rape’ , ‘ you strike a women’ you strike a rock’, ‘No to domestic abuse’, etc. This picket was a symbol of women’s solidarity and an indication of the power possessed by women. Women are being abused, raped, have their rights violated daily, but they are as strong as a rock. The picket took place at the Nelson Mandela Stone, this further illustrated that if ‘you strike a women’ you strike a rock’. Words of empowerment, motivation and encouragement were shared amongst the women. A pledge was read out and handed out to all the participants as a token of appreciation. Red balloons were relieved into the air to commemorate the liberation of women.

PWN – South Africa
At Etwatwa in Daveyton (township), PWN Coordinators: Lindiwe Mahlangu and Penny Dhlamini are hosting a Women Celebration on what women have achieved in the past 5 years. In Wattvile (township), PWN Coordinators: Benoni Madingane Kunyamane and Azola Goqwana are hosting a Community Dialogues on Women Rights .

Prudence Mabele will be attending CSW 57 to participate in an event on Gender Based Violence : A call for Multi-sectoral Interventions and Actions then Reception on International Women’s Day (March 8) at the Mission house of Germany.

PWN community members Will have a IMBIZO (forum for discussion) AT FREEDOM SQUARE talking about WOMEN RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS on March 20 in remembrance of our Human Rights day

AFEDES – Guatemala
They will be participating in a national march that will be happening in Guatemala City – where they demand pressure on the government to stop acting unconstitutionally against the mechanisms that have been established and ratified at the international level for the defense of women’s rights. AFEDES will also use the women’s rights month as the framework for carrying out their annual general assembly with AFEDES members as well as a gathering of community members and allies.

Ñepi Behña – Mexico
Ñepi Behña is as an active member of the RedPar Network (National Network of Rural Promoters and Assessors). RedPar will be given an award on March 8th by AMER (Mexican Association for Rural Studies) for their Research Study on the impact of climate change on women and strategies to mitigate them. Ñepi Behña contributed a lot of input into this research study based on their work indigenous women in Hidalgo, so they feel proud of this award.The awards will be given in Guadalajara through a national event, organized by AMER.

Wondering how to celebrate in 2013? Read our guide to “Things to do on Women’s Day“.

Read more about some of Cape Town’s present day fearless females.


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