Women’s Day in South Africa pays homage to the women of our nation who fought against the Apartheid government.
Celebrated since 1994, this public holiday commemorates a 1956 protest by members of the FSAW (Federation of South African Women). Some 20 000 women marched up to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom’s offices. The women stood outside in silence for 30 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). Since then the phrase “you strike a woman, you strike a rock” has come to represent women’s courage and strength.
An inspiring display of political strength, 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.