National Woman's Day

Lillian Ngoyi © ANC
Lillian Ngoyi © ANC

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Woman’s Day on the 9th August in South Africa? It has nothing to do with honouring women just because we need another “Mother’s Day”, this day commemorates the 9 August 1956 when women participating in a national march petitioned against pass laws … (For anyone who does not know the history – “pass laws” were legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’ during the Apartheid regime).

On this day in 1956, over 20 000 women of all races and ages from every corner of South Africa marched together towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria. These brave women were marching in protest against the pass laws that proposed even further restrictions on the movements of women.

Organised by the Federation of South African Women, the March was led by four brave women; Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams and Lilian Ngoyi. The leaders delivered petitions to Prime Minister JG Strijdom’s office within the Union Buildings.

Women throughout South Africa had put their names to these petitions indicating their anger and frustration at having their freedom of movement restricted by the hated official passes.

Women’s Day Events:

First up is the  14th SA Women’s Arts Festival which takes place at The Playhouse in Durban and begins on Friday 30 July running for 10 days until Sunday 8 August. This is a showcase for the impact women make on the lives of South Africans and is a firm favourite on the cultural calendar. Expect beautiful works of poetry, music, comedy and drama that both showcases talented women in their respective arts field as well as sharing unique ideas. To book either call The Playhouse booking office or book through Computicket.

If you’d like to celebrate women and give something back to your community then why not join the St Luke’s Hospice Women’s Day Brunch on Monday 9 August 2010. Enjoy a delicious brunch at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Rondebosch with proceeds from the event going to the care of the terminally ill patients of St Luke’s Hospice. Charmaine Noy of Kfm is the MC of the event with guest speaker Dr Jenny Edge who is both a surgeon and breast cancer specialist at the Chris Barnard Memorial Hospital. Tickets cost R200 per person or R2000 for a table of 10.

Celebrating all things women is The Women’s Show in Johannesburg from 27-29 August in North Riding at the Coca Cola Dome. This is the only lifestyle exhibition dedicated entirely to women (it is also held in Cape Town – next one 18 February 2011). Every woman has a unique feminine spirit which needs to be celebrate and this is the opportunity to do so. With fun and inspirational ideas that cater for all ages, shapes and sizes, interests and lifestyles this is both a sensory and interactive experience that should not be missed.

Women are always keen to find out about the latest beauty trends, whether we follow all of them is a different story. But if you are keen to find out the latest and freshest trends out there then head over to Professional Beauty Africa 2010 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand from 29-30 August 2010. So much to discover and experiment with you may find yourself spending hours here! 

Everyone has a special woman in their life, be it your partner, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt or friend you should take the time to celebrate their uniqueness. August is the perfect opportunity to let them know how much they are appreciated and loved, but lets not lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Women’s Day in South Africa!

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