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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.

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Celebrate your womanhood with our list of Women’s Day events.

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PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA

JANUARY    
1 Jan New Year's Day Check out more events happening in January
MARCH    
21 Mar Human Rights Day  
30 Mar Good Friday  Check out more events happening in March
APRIL    
2 Apr Family Day  
27 Apr Freedom Day Check out more events happening in April
MAY    
1 May Workers' Day Check out more events happening in May
JUNE    
16 Jun Youth Day Check out more events happening in June
AUGUST    
9 Aug National Women's Day Check out more events happening in August
SEPTEMBER    
24 Sept Heritage Day Check out more events happening in September
DECEMBER    
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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Keep the kids entertained for R60 or less with our list of free and cheap things to do with kids.

Do your bit of good with these places to volunteer at in Cape Town.

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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 to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Cape Town Events Calendar
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