The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) women in the Free State ended Women’s Month with a health walk of note. On 03 September the female staff of DWS commemorated the historic1956 Women’s March of 20 000 women to the Union buildings in Pretoria by taking a Walk up Naval Hill.
The women found it important to do this seeing that it is the 60th anniversary of this historic event. Women’s Month is a tribute not only to the thousands of women who marched on that day in 1956, but also a tribute to the pioneers of the women’s movement in this country, dating back to 1913.
The aim was to promote awareness of the efforts of the march/walk whilst at the same time promoting healthy lifestyles of the officials. The women were also supported by some of their male colleagues. Tebogo Mogoera said that he was proud to be part of the walk as it showed that he supported women empowerment. “Women are the backbone of our department and the world as a whole, without a woman in my life I do not believe that I would have turned out the way I have” said Mogoera.
The Walk started at the bottom of Naval Hill and participants walked up to the Nelson Mandela Statue. Participants were presented with medals from Old Mutual who partnered with DWS for the event. “It is tough waking up so early in the morning especially because it is a Saturday, but it was well worth it,” said Lerato Mabotja. “We have come very far as women and I truly thank and admire all the women that marched for us on that blessed day”, said Mabotja.
“In South Africa women played a prominent role in the struggle for ages, even before women’s organizations were formed,” said Pulane Shabe. “They fought for gender equality, challenged the idea that a woman’s place is in the kitchen instead of anywhere they chose, fought for their emancipation and that of their families and they were outraged by the system of discrimination; they became anti-apartheid activists and in so doing risked imprisonment, torture and exile. This initiative will always remind us that we need to look continuously to the future, also to inspire generations of women to come and the legacy of the past. Hence the celebration of those women that marched and paved a way for us, created opportunities for the future generations of women as well,” said Shabe – Larry Crisp