The Women's March Essay Example


Apartheid brought about many laws that violated human rights. Consequently, this created many resistances movements. This is essay will be honing in on the resistance movement of many South African women. 

The women’s march took place on the 9th of August 1956, in Pretoria by the Union Building. Women from as far as Cape Town flocked to protest the Natives Act. The natives act forced people to carry pass books or “dompas”, this “controlled” movement of black people in urban areas 

Before women, would only need permits, but by 1956 they were being issued reference books. The federation of South African women and the ANC were not happy about this. The women requested a meeting with the then prime minster, that was denied. 

That did not stop the women from organising a peaceful protest by the union building. “Strijdom, you have tampered with the women, you have struck a rock.” said Wathint' Abafazi. 

After the touring of urban areas by Helen Joseph and some ANC leaders to gain mass support, more than 20000 women from all over South Africa flocked to the Union Building in Pretoria. Many women came with signs, one sign said the words” with passes we are slaves” and many women even wore traditional clothing like saris.  

Towards the end of the protest Lilian Nygoli suggested they stand in silence for half an hour before they all left signing the now South African National Anthem, in a co-ordinated, peaceful and graceful manner. This protest was one of grace and dignity. Nonetheless The Prime minster did not show up to watch the spectacular protest, but that did not change the importance of this event. 

Many women were involved in the co-ordination and planning of this event, women such as Rahima Moosa, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.  

This protest extinguished all stereotypes of women not being to be politically inclined, or that women are immature and should be house bound. This one day truly showed the resilience of our South African women, and was one of many protests that pushed us one step closer to the future we are now in. 

The 9th of August is now celebrated as women's day and is a national holiday. "Sounds the call to come together, and united we shall stand, let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa, our land!” are the words sung in our anthem, the march and many protests truly represent these words.

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