National Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 9th of August. On this day, South Africa commemorates the day on which 20,000 women of colour marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against amendments to the Apartheid laws.

Considered Women’s Month in South Africa, August is a time in which we commemorate the iconic South African women that fought in the struggle against Apartheid. Women’s Month is also a time where we empower, honour and celebrate the beauty and strength of South African women in our society today.

The History of National Women’s Day

On Thursday the 9th of August 1956, 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the enforcement of black women needing to carry passes under the Apartheid pass laws.

The Pass Laws Act required African people carry an identification document or ‘pass’ on them at all times. This controlled and restricted their freedom of movement under the Apartheid regime and, if unable to present a pass on request, they were refused access to what was known as white areas.

The protest was organised by the anti-apartheid group, the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW), whose aim was to strengthen the voices and influence of women from all ethnicities in the movement towards a democratic society.

The protest was scheduled for a Thursday, a day on which traditionally the African domestic workers had leave from their jobs. This ensured that there would be enough multicultural women to take part and, sure enough, on the 9th of August, thousands of women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the centre of the South African government, and handed over a petition containing more than 100 000 signatures opposing the introduction of passes for African women.

During the procession of events, thousands of women stood silently outside Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom’s door for 30 minutes before singing the protest song, “Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo!” which translates to Now you have touched a woman, you have struck a rock.

Later, this line of the protest song was adapted to the phrase, “Now you have struck a woman, you have struck a rock”. This phrase has come to represent the courage and strength of South African women.

How You Can Celebrate National Women’s Day

National Women’s Day honours the many achievements of South African women; on the day in 1956 and within the anti-apartheid movement. Women’s Day also celebrates women in the present day for the strength they possess in as mothers, wives, caregivers and businesswomen. 

There is a wide range of events and activities taking place throughout the country to celebrate National Women’s Day 2018. Here are a handful of fun things to do to treat yourself or celebrate the lovely ladies in your life.

  • Celebrate Women’s Day with Kunjani Wine Estate
    On Friday the 9th of August, Kunjani Wines is hosting a delightful lunch in honour of National Women’s Day. Ladies are invited between 11 AM and  3:30 PM and can choose from two or three courses for R250 and R325 per person respectively.

  • Wine tastings and food with Benguela Cove 
    Treat yourselves and the special ladies in your life to an entire day out in the picturesque Winelands of Hermanus. Benguela Cove is offering a romantic stroll through the spectacular vineyards while enjoying a wine tasting along the way. To end off the day, ticket holders stand a chance of winning one of the many fabulous prizes in a fun lucky draw. 
  • Kick-off Women’s Month with First Thursday at the Pepperclub 
    This year, Women’s Month is kicking off on First Thursday, the 1st of August, and the Pepperclub is inviting all the ladies to celebrate with them from 5 PM PM to 8 PM. Indulge in complimentary Cruxland Gin, Laborie wine and Laborie bubbly with tasty canapes.
  • Connect with your creative side 
    Ladies, show off your artistic flair with a food, wine and painting evening at D’Aria Wine Estate in Durbanville on Sunday the 11th of August from 2 PM to 5 PM. Celebrate with South African female artist, Kim Mobey, who will entertain guests while four canape-style meals are served with a glass of wine. All funds raised will go to the NPO Call 2 Care to uplift communities and empower women through The iGardi Project.
  • Find Your Sparkle This Women’s Day 
    Head to the Cape Town Cricket Club on the 9th of August between 11 AM to  7 PM and expect to find food trucks, gin bars, craft beers, bubbly and cocktails. There will be a live resident DJ keeping the afternoon alive. The dress code includes anything sparkling with a hint of pink. Kids entertainment will also be provided.

Visit the site of the historic Women’s March of 1956, the Union Buildings, as well as other points of interest in Pretoria during the Pretoria City Highlights and Attractions Tour.

Contact African Travel Canvas to begin planning your vacation in Africa.

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