This public holiday commemorating the famous 1956 march of 20,000 women on the Union Buildings in Pretoria against the pass laws, which required “black” South African’s to apply for a travel pass just for travel within South Africa.
Women of all ethnic groups were outraged and indignant about these travel restrictions as well as about apartheid in general. They petitioned the government to change these policies, stood silently in protest for half an hour outside the capital complex, and sang a song that included the now-famous words, “You strike the women, you strike a rock!”
Today we celebrate the progress of women in all walks of life in South Africa. All of the month of August is used to celebrate South African women and their accomplishments!
Activities to consider this month:
South Africa was long a land of official discrimination, and part of the reason it changed was that its women stood up and protested injustices such as the infamous pass laws.