Why SAVE celebrates Women’s Day

Women's month history

Annually, on the 9th of August, South Africa celebrates Women’s Day. On this day the back in 1956, 20,000 women marched to the union buildings in Pretoria to protest the amendments to the Apartheid laws.

The Pass Laws Act stated that all African people carry an identification document, or more commonly referred to as a ‘pass’, on them at all time. This law was used by the government to control and restrict the movements of black people. If they were unable to produce their pass when asked, they were not granted access to certain areas; these were known as ‘white areas’. White people, we not required to carry or present passes, and were able to move freely where ever they pleased. 

Due to the place of this law within society, the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW), an anti-apartheid group organised the protest which took place on Thursday the 9th of August. The FEDSAW aimed to empower women of all ethnicities to have their voices heard in the movement towards a democratic society. 

On this day thousands of women from different races and backgrounds joined the march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria, and they handed over a petition with over 100,000 signatures opposing the introduction of The Pass law for African women. 

After 30 minutes of silent protest, the thousands of empowered women started to sing their protest song “Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo!” which translates to “Now you have touched a woman, you have struck a rock”. This has adapted over time to the well-known phrase “Now you have struck a woman, you have struck a rock” which represents the courage and strength of South African women.

SAVE aims to continue the empowerment and strengthening of women across the country as well as the globe. Over the next 30 days will be highlighting the women who have, and continue to, influence members of our staff. Be sure to follow us on all our social media platforms to catch these posts. 

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