Lili Radloff reflects on why the 9th of August is such an important day in the lives of South African women.
Let us focus on the reason we have this holiday in the first place.
Because, it is a good reason, even if the present day status quo leaves a lot to be desired. I’m sure most of you know this already, but let’s recap the history quickly:
On the 9th of August in 1956, a protest of over 20 000 women, led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn marched to the Union Buildings.
They dropped off petitions, signed by more than 100 000, at Prime Minister J.G Strydom’s offices, protesting the pass laws that proposed further restrictions on the movements of women.
These women of all ages and races marched bravely even though they faced arrest, detention and even bannings. When they arrived at the Union Buildings they sang Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika and also a new song that was especially composed for this march, “Wathint' Abafazi Wathint' imbokodo!” (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock) less directly translated as "You strike a women and you strike a rock".
So, in a nutshell, Women’s Day/Month is there to commemorate the bravery of those 20 000 women who put themselves at risk to rise up against injustice.
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ