News: Women`s Day: Strike a Woman Strike A Rock

2008-06-21

Picture what it must have been like – over 20 000 women of all ages and races from all across South Africa marching together towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Though each marcher must have thought about the risk of arrest, they bravely came together on 9 August 1956 as a formidable force to protest against the pass laws that proposed further restrictions on the movements of women.

This 9 August we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark Women`s March. It is an ideal time to celebrate and reflect on the status of women today and the advances made since that historical day when South African women organised one of the largest and most successful protests in the country`s history.

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.

The women concluded their demonstration by singing freedom songs like Nkosi sikeleli Afrika and a new song which became not only the anthem of the march, but the credo of South African women, the song was saying: `If you strike a woman, you strike a rock.`

The Women`s March was a spectacular success. We need to applaud and recognise the bravery of these women who risked official reprisals including arrest, detention and even bannings. The March showed that the commonly accepted stereotype of women as politically inept and immature, tied to the home, was outdated and inaccurate.

Women proved that they were not powerless to make significant changes to a way of life that discriminated against them primarily because of their race, but also because of their class and their gender. They had the ability to organise themselves and to be a political force to be reckoned with.

Even though the issues that concerned women in the 1950s were very different to the issues facing women in modern day South Africa, the background of the 1956 Women`s March has helped women of today to organise themselves politically and within the community to take up the challenges of the day. The 1956 March helped to shape the ideologies of many, particular those that drafted the South African Constitution and the Commission of Gender and Equality.
The phrase `Strike a woman, strike a rock` has come to represent women`s courage and strength. The Congress Alliance decided to mark 9 August celebrated as Women`s Day, and it is now, in the new South Africa, commemorated each year as a national holiday.

Extracted from : SA History.org.za

 


Air Ventures Special!!!

 

Once again it is fast approaching (that day of the year when we get to spoil those special ladies in our lives) Women`s Day, on the 9th of August 2008. In celebration, AirVentures is offering an AMAZING package to ladies being booked onto the Classic Flight.

And for the ladies only - why not spoil yourselves and get a group of 8 girlfriends together on the Classic flight with a WOMAN`S DAY SPECIAL. Indulge yourselves on a Classic balloon flight, sipping on champagne, enjoying the good company of your special friends, while floating over the country side.

This offer is valid from 1st-31st August 2008

 

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