We are well within the month of August; a significant month in the history of South Africa and specifically today, a day which was declared a public holiday back in 1995; the National Women’s Day, celebrated each year on August 9th.
The day commemorates the 1956 march where approximately 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws, which required black South Africans to carry an internal passport; a system designed to segregate the population, manage urbanisation, and allocate migrant labour.
At the forefront of this march were brave women such as Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Albertina Sisulu; to name a few. A South African history is thus never complete, especially that which tells of inspirational women who fought against oppression and women emancipation, if it never tells of the likes of Mama Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.
A renowned champion of freedom, Mama Sisulu is one of the most revered figures to emerge from the anti-apartheid struggle and indeed this historic women’s march. Today is even more special because of this year’s centenary celebrations of this iqhawe, imboko! We honour and remember Mama Sisulu and all those women who paved the way for us to have the same recognition and opportunities as man, and equally allow us to write our own stories.
Whilst times may have changed and we no longer carry and are not burdened by the ills of the pass laws, a women’s struggle has not ended. The struggle has just put on a different mask. Today South African women face challenges such as domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace and in society, unequal pay and lack of basic needs such as sanitary towels, which prevents most girls from going to school thereby denying them their basic right to education.
The struggle has just changed form!
Yet in all this, women continue to be steadfast and continue to fight for their rights to BE; just mere HUMAN. It is a fight that requires strength, resilience but most of all requires women of today to stand in unity.
As we celebrate today and the days to come, let us uplift each other, let us protect, encourage and celebrate each other. Let us be each others’ keepers, because each of us that wins creates space for the next to win. Maximize the opportunities you have today to be a positive influence to your fellow Lioness and the community at large.
Make Your Mark. Roar Loud. Roar with Power.
I am Cindy Nkomo. I am a Woman and I am the proud Vice Chairperson of Fat Cats Athletic Club.
Happy Women’s Day Lioness.