Wathint’ abafazi, Strijdom! wathint’ abafazi,wathint’ imbokodo,uza kufa!
[When] you strike the women, you strike a rock, you will be crushed [you will die]
Brovanture Consultant, South Africa
Annually on the 9th August, South Africa commemorates Women’s Day as a tribute to the approximately 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria (South Africa’s official seat of the government) on the same date in 1956, in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women in an attempt to control their movements in urban areas. The headline is an extract from a famous resistance song composed for the 1956 protest and often referred to as the “battle cry of South African Women”.
The Pass Law required African (non-white) residents to carry an internal pass (similar to a passport) to move around the country under the apartheid regime (a policy of segregation or discrimination on the grounds of race). Men had been required to carry passes for decades, dating back to the times of slavery, but women were only required to carry passes from the 1950’s. African women were not allowed to live in a town if they did not have permission to be employed there, and extending these pass laws to them made it difficult for women without jobs to join their husbands in these towns. This caused broken families as men would often work away for many months as migrant labourers, leaving their wives and children behind. If women were caught without the pass they would be jailed.
This was not the first march of its kind, there had been many more marches by many women who went before, and they were all fighting against the injustice of these laws and many other laws that impeded women’s rights.
Part of the focus in South Africa during women’s month focuses on issues affecting women in all spheres of life. There are events and fundraisers and the money is directed to worthy causes. Issues currently faced by women, irrespective of age, nationality or skin-colour include:
- Gender based violence
- Sexual harassment, racism, human trafficking
- Access to equal opportunity
- Girls access to education (around 30% of girls miss school every month due to being unable to afford sanitary products)
- Navigating career and motherhood, work-family conflict
As a UK based company with a South African presence, we are well aware of issues impacting women, young and old, and with this focus especially during the month of August we would like to encourage you to seek out a worthy cause and volunteer your time or donate money to help advance woman’s struggles. We have a fundraiser in September where you can donate towards a very worthy organisation called the Young Women’s Trust, see the link below:
If you prefer to donate to a South African charity, you can contribute to the Community Chest using the reference “Brovanture” for your donations:
By contributing to these initiatives, you’ll be helping to empower and uplift women, making a positive impact on their lives and the broader community. It’s essential to continue raising awareness and supporting women’s rights to create a more equitable and just society for all.
Until next time