Friday, August 13, 2010

National Women's Day in South Africa

On Monday, August 9, 2010, my community hosted a Women’s Day celebration. South Africa recognizes Women’s Day as a National Holiday and the nation is treated as such: no work or school on Monday!

I was told that our community would host a celebration in our community hall. When I asked what time it would start, I was told: at nine or ten (a.m.). I arrived at 11:20 with no start in sight!

And if you see the photo of the program, the program states that activities were to start at 7:30!! Ah, South African time…

I was able to stay for a couple of hours. I was a bit disappointed at the turnout: there may have been 50 women. No one came from my college and only one from my primary school. You may recognize the “lioness” as she was there. I’m told by my colleagues that she is a powerful political figure in my community. I’m happy to report too, that we’ve taken to each other…

There were no men present at the celebration either, which made me sad.

Emily and her cousin, Morley, visiting from Namibia made an appearance--YAY!

Lots of singing and praying--and special guest speakers, but although I was promised a "cow would be slaughtered," no food was in sight.

I’ve posted a bit of info below about South Africa’s National Women’s Day and the link:

On 9 August 1956, 20 000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950. They left bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom's office doors. Outside they stood silently for 30 minutes, many with their children on their backs. Those who were working for Whites as nannies were carrying their white charges with them. The women sang a protest song that was composed in honor of the occasion: Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.). In the 54 years since, the phrase (or its latest incarnation: "you strike a woman, you strike a rock") has come to represent women's courage and strength in South Africa.

The march was led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.

Other participants included Frances Baard, a statue of whom was unveiled by Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins in Kimberley (Frances Baard District Municipality) on National Women's Day 2009.[1]

Since 9 August 1994, the day has been commemorated annually and is known as Women's Day in South Africa. In 2006 a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans attending.'s_Day



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