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Women's Month

Why do we celebrate Women's Day in South Africa?

In South Africa we celebrate Women's Day on the 9th of August every year in honour of the women who fought against the apartheid government. Over 20000 women of all races marched to the Pretoria Union building on 9 August 1956 to protest the pass laws.
During the apartheid era, the pass laws prohibited people of colour from entering areas defined as 'white areas' if they did not have the relevant ID documentation.

On the 9th of August 1956, the march was led by four truly amazing women: Lilian Ngoyi, Sophy Williams, Rahima Moosa and Helen Joseph.
These brave ladies presented 14000 signed petitions to JG Strijdom's office, the Prime Minister.

During the march, the ladies had 30 minutes of silence as a collective group and then sang a protest song in honour of the occasion: Wathint' Abafazi Wathint' Imbokodo! – "When you strike a woman, you strike a rock". This song has since become a representation of a woman's strength and courage.

The pass laws were only repealed in 1986 but the impact of the march was so great that the government declared the month of August as Women's Month and the 9th of August as a public holiday; what we now know as Women's Day, in honour of this amazingly strong group of women who fought for those who had no voice.

A Public Holiday and a Long Weekend in South Africa – 9 August 2019

What you can do this long weekend…

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