This year’s national women’s day is celebrated in Sasolburg, in the Free State, under the theme: “Women united in moving South Africa forward”. The event is hosted by the national department of Arts and Culture together with the department of Women.
Deputy minister of Arts and Culture, Rejoice Mabudafhasi says about twenty-thousand women from all 9 provinces are expected to be part of the celebration.
“We are expecting about twenty thousand women. Every province will be represented by thousands of women, so we are expecting a huge crowd of women. The women will be celebrating their achievements,” she said.
She added that President Jacob Zuma is expected to release the first status of women report during the event.
The report was compiled by the department of women after it hosted a number of dialogues across the country in March and June this year, with the aim of assessing the current status of women in the country.
“It will also be the launch of the status of women report highlighting what women have done, where we are and how far we have come, and also to address challenges that women are still facing. However, the main aim of the event is to celebrate the achievements of women,” she said.
August 9th was declared national women’s day to commemorate the brave efforts that women took in 1956, when they participated in a national march to petition the apartheid pass law.
The law required African persons to carry documentation that permitted them to enter areas that were reserved exclusively for white people, during the apartheid regime. It also meant that African women were not allowed to live or work in towns unless they had permission.
According to sahistory.org, this, in turn, made it extremely difficult for them to take care of their husbands and families. So, on this day 59 years ago, twenty-thousand women from different racial backgrounds, united and participated in the march that ultimately ended that law.