Woman’s Day – South African National Holiday – 9 August 1956


In this video from South Africa, Jae presents the show ‘One’ with other female presenters on Womans day.

From Alistair Boddy-Evans:

Woman’s Day – South African National Holiday – 9 August 1956

It is 51 years since the Federation of South African Women organized a mass demonstration against the imposition of pass laws on women in South Africa. More than 20,000 women, led by Lilian Ngoyi (a trade unionist and political activist), Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, took part in the multi-racial march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to deliver a petition to the prime minister JG Strijdom. (Strijdom was conveniently absent and had the Secretary to the Prime Minister accepted the petition in his stead!)

On the way to the Union Buildings the women sang a freedom song: “Wathint’ abafazi, Strijdom!”

wathint’ abafazi,
wathint’ imbokodo,
uza kufa!

[When] you strike the women,
you strike a rock,
you will be crushed [you will die]!

The phrase wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.

Last year, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the 1956 Women’s March, the South African government decided to rename Strijdom Square, where the Union Buildings in Pretoria are, as Lillian Ngoyi Square – to honor of all those who took part in the historic event.

• Find out more about Federation of South African Women here
• Find out more about Women’s Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa here

23 September 1913 – Anti-Pass Protests by South African Women: here.

3 thoughts on “Woman’s Day – South African National Holiday – 9 August 1956

  1. Pingback: Nelson Mandela 1918-2013, fighter for equality and peace | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: South African apartheid regime’s Sharpeville massacre | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Vera Chirwa, freedom fighter of Malawi, Africa | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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