Remember National Women’s Day – 9th August 2010

by Aug 3, 2010All Articles

womens day“When you strike a Woman, you strike a rock” – this was the rallying cry of the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9th August 1956 to protest against apartheid’s pass law system. This day is now celebrated as National Women’s Day and celebrates all women of South Africa, not forgetting the many prejudices that women still face.

Women are still the major heads of the household with the least representation at parliamentary and government levels. In the Western Cape, Premier Helen Zille chose a provincial cabinet consisting of all men, with the exception of her as Premier.

During the hearing on the Black Authorities Act (BAA) earlier this year, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile Mandela called for a return to the marriage custom called “ukuthwalwa” (to be carried) where he stated that “When a man sees that this one is ripe for marriage, then she is taken and she is put through a ceremony and then she’s ready”. He dismissed criticism of this when challenged by women attending the hearings. This Act further entrenches the idea that women are not allowed to own communal land and that in traditional courts women are not allowed to represent themselves, instead women have to be represented by men.

In terms of the HIV/Aids pandemic women still carry the burden of the disease by having to care for those dying of the disease, taking care of children orphaned by HIV/Aids and being the most vulnerable to contracting HIV/Aids.

The rate of rape of women is also still of major concern with South Africa having an estimated 500 000 rapes annually.

We urge everyone not to forget Women’s Day on the 9th August.

Amandla! has put together a package of articles from past magazines to celebrate this day.

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