While South Africans marked National Women’s Day on August 9, the month has been set aside to commemorate the significant victory for women’s liberation in SA when 20,000 women staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1956.
Protesting against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act, petitions were left at the prime minister’s door and the women sang a protest song, Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo, meaning ‘now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock’. The phrase has come to represent women’s courage and strength in SA.
Women are creative, intelligent, loving, caring and sharing human beings, and we look towards others to inspire us. Take for instance these inspirational South African women:
Thulisile Nomkhosi ‘Thuli’ Madonsela is a South African advocate and the Public Protector of South Africa. Her role as watchdog has often pitted her against some of the highest ranking politicians in the country, but her principled character sees her simply get on with the job.
Charlize Theron – Hollywood actress of note, this Benoni girl has taken the world’s biggest stage and made it her own in so many ways. The Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actress, dancer and animal activist played a leading role in a hard-hitting anti-rape campaign in South Africa and frequently acts as an unofficial, but highly effective ambassador for her home country.
Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) was the first South African novelist of consequence, and one of the most significant feminist theorists of the 20th century. Her most famous works, “Story of an African Farm” and “Women and Labour” tell a powerful story of her immense legacy.
Navanethem ‘Navi’ Pillay is a South African jurist who served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014. A South African of Indian Tamil origin, she was the first non-white woman judge of the High Court of South Africa, and has also served as a judge of the International Criminal Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Her four-year term as High Commissioner for Human Rights began on 1 September 2008 and was extended by an additional two years in 2012. In April 2015 Pillay became the 16th Commissioner of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty.