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Women's Day In SA and Why We Celebrate Differently From The Rest of The World
Why we celebrate on 9 August, PLUS: Watch video interviews and features on SA women struggle stalwarts
In Cape Town (and all of South Africa) we have a separate, special celebration for women. National Women’s Day falls on 9 August. It’s a public holiday and it specifically seeks to celebrate women in society’s contribution to achieving freedom in South Africa – more specifically, to commemorate the actions of women in 1956 to contribute to SA’s drive for freedom and equality.
Women march in Lesotho during a past National Women's Day protest
It’s slightly different from the UN’s International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March every year. Here’s what Women’s Day in SA is all about:
HOMAGE TO STRUGGLE HEROES
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.
WATCH: MARCH LEADER SOPHIA WILLIAMS-DE BRUYN RECOUNTS THE MARCH ON 21 ICONS
STRIKE A WOMAN, YOU STRIKE A ROCK
After delivering bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures to 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).
WATCH: DR RUTH MOMPATI SPEAKS ABOUT THE MEANING OF WOMEN’S DAY
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN SHAPING MODERN SA SOCIETY
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.
Celebrate your womanhood with our list of Women’s Day events.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA
|1 Jan||New Year's Day||Check out more events happening in January|
|21 Mar||Human Rights Day|
|30 Mar||Good Friday||Check out more events happening in March|
|2 Apr||Family Day|
|27 Apr||Freedom Day||Check out more events happening in April|
|1 May||Workers' Day||Check out more events happening in May|
|16 Jun||Youth Day||Check out more events happening in June|
|9 Aug||National Women's Day||Check out more events happening in August|
|24 Sept||Heritage Day||Check out more events happening in September|
|16 Dec||Day of Reconciliation|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||Day of Goodwill||Check out more events happening in December
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