August is National Women’s month in South Africa with Women’s Day being celebrated on the 9th of August which was first celebrated in 1995. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our achievements and the important role we have played and continue to play in South African society.
The Absolute Mama #BEPROUD Women’s Campaign
During Women’s month, Absolute Mama and Our Partners will pay tribute to the achievements of our foremothers by showcasing their triumphs and struggles and how they have shaped our world today.
Each week we will be focussing on an industry and celebrating these achievements through informative features and interviews and amazing competitions brought to you by Our Partners.
20 000 Women march to the Union Buildings in protest of pass laws
On 9 August 1956, more than 20 000 women from all walks of life united in a mass demonstration and marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and protested the unjust past laws enforced on women in South Africa and set off changes which would create the world we live in today.
The march against the pass laws was organised by the Federation of South African Women (FSAW or FEDSAW). The Federation famously challenged the idea that ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’, declaring it instead to be ‘everywhere’.
Our Nation’s Mothers, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, led women from across the country in exemplary fashion.
Dressed in their African traditional dress, Indian white saris and others in the Congress colours; some women even had their babies on their backs, some domestic workers brought their employers’ children along, the women filled the entire amphitheatre in the bow of the graceful Herbert Baker building.
Although Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom was not at the Union Buildings to accept the petition, the women of South Africa sent a public message that they would not be intimidated and silenced by unjust laws.
At Lilian’s suggestion, the huge crowd stood in absolute silence for a full half hour and before leaving the women sang ‘Nkosi sikeleli Afrika‘. Executed with discipline and dignity, and described as a moving and emotional experience, this demonstration would be known as one of largest demonstrations staged in our country’s history.