The 9th of August commemorates Women’s Day in South Africa and I feel a pretty strong attachment to this day of ultimate female unity. Andiswa Machanyana of The South African Bloggers took the words right out of my mouth…
“It’s been 58 years since some 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in the City of Pretoria to protest – rising up against the legislation that required black South Africans to carry the “pass” (special identification documents which infringed on their freedom of movement during the Apartheid era), approximately 20 000 women from all over the country took to the streets of Pretoria – many carrying the children of their white bosses on their backs – to stage a peaceful march to the Union Buildings led by the likes of Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn amongst others. After dropping off bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at Prime Minister J.G Strijdom’s offices, they stood in silence for thirty minutes. A song was composed in honour of this momentous occasion, “Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo!” (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock).Two years prior to this protest though the women’s charter was adopted:”
And in honour of this day and month and the rights that were fought for and how far we have come but not far enough, my colleague and friend Ilana sent me this amazing clip of Muslim spoken word poet Madiha Bhatti on the continued objectification of women.
AND IN ENDING…
“Our department of Art & Cultured puts yet more emphasis on looks as we celebrate this year’s women month with a theme such as “Wear a doek Campaign” Shrieks. Is there more to the doek Campaign than the looks? We sure won’t be needing much men’s help as we put on those doeks. Will we ever get to a point where we as women are seen as more than just the faces? I am almost certain we have much more to contribute in furthering this countries of ours and that cannot be attributed to looks alone can it? My mind is battling to see how such a theme is going to shift the thinking, creativity is good but substance goes a long way.
Where I come from, women spend their lives trying to get rid of the doek!”
– Andiswa Machanyana
Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo.
I hope everyone had a lovely day appreciating and reflecting on what it means. What it means to be a woman, what women mean to you and what women are through and through.