Esteemed opera singer Aviva Pelham recounts her mother’s fascinating tale of ...
Women's Day (Public Holiday)
If you strike a woman, you strike a rock
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.
- Wondering how to celebrate in 2012? Read our guide to "Things to do on Women's Day".
- Read more about some of Cape Town's present day fearless females.
1 May - Worker’s Day
16 June - Youth Day
9 August - National Women's Day
24 September - Heritage Day
16 December - Day of Reconciliation
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - Day of Goodwill
For more hot and happening things to do, check out the annual events in Cape Town or use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget tosubscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn and check out our Pinterest boards for updates on the latest and greatest events happening in the Mother City.