Where there is a Woman, There is Magic - Ntozake Shange

(Painting done by Mmakgabo Mmapula Mmangankato Helen Sebidi)

In South Africa, the month of August is dedicated to the commemoration of the 1956 Women's March, in which 20 000 women risked their lives to protest the oppressive laws that were in place at that time.

Women from all over the country gathered on the 9th of August and peacefully marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. They handed over the bundles of signatures from their petition to the then-minister, JG Strijdom. The thousands of women then stood together in complete silence for a full 30min before combining their voices to sing, ‘Nkosi sikeleli Afrika' (South Africa's national anthem). That day, in one of the biggest demonstrations of our history, women from all races, backgrounds, social standings, and walks of life gathered together with one goal in mind - to change the future of South Africa.

This resistance against the Pass Laws not only helped change the oppression against women, but also marked the fight for the dignity of black people, and the fight against economic oppression and exploitation of both men and women. In honour of this powerful and pivotal movement and the contributions of the brave woman who fought for our futures, our South African government had declared that every year during the month of August, we will celebrate and honour our women.

On this 65th anniversary of the historical march, this womens month is held under the theme, “The year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Realising Women’s Rights”. Charlotte Maxeke was an activist, born in April 1874, and became one of the first Black women in South Africa to gain a degree. Her angelic voice catapulted her to England where she toured for two years, performing shows for people across Europe and even for Queen Victoria. Back in South Africa, she fought for freedom from exploitative and social conditions of African women, and during her life, she left her mark in South African history.

We hope everyone will take a moment this month to acknowledge and appreciate the powerful presence women have in our lives. Whether she is a teacher, a mother, a sister, or a local community figure, let them know they are appreciated for all they do.

And to all our beautiful and strong women out there - Happy Women's Month!

(For more stunning quotes for Women's Day follow us on Facebook @rezcaresouthpeninsula.)

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