National Women’s Month is celebrated every August in South Africa. It is celebrated in line with National Women’s Day on 9 August, which is an annual public holiday in South Africa.
The day was instituted after the national march of women on 9 August 1956 to petition against the pass laws that was distinctive of the Apartheid era in South Africa. Pass laws required South Africans defined as ‘black’ by the Population Registration Act to carry a ‘pass’; an internal passport that severely restricted their movement in the country. Each ‘pass’ specified in which area the carrier were allowed to work, live and travel. ‘Black’ people were required to carry their pass with them at all times and produce it when requested. If they were without their pass, they were arrested.
The protesting women sang a song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock). In the 54 years since, the phrase (or its latest incarnation: ‘you strike a woman, you strike a rock’) has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.
Are you celebrating Women’s Month or National Women’s day? What are your plans? If you haven’t made any plans to celebrate the strong female/s in your life yet, have a look at the ads on Junk Mail!