The holiday commemorates the national march of women on this day in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the pass Information.
Over 20 000 women of all races and ages from every corner of South Africa marched together towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria in a national march petitioned against pass laws.
“pass laws” legislation required African persons to carry a document on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’ during the Apartheid regime.
Organised by the Federation of South African Women, the March was led by four brave women; Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams and Lilian Ngoyi. The leaders delivered petitions to Prime Minister JG Strijdom’s office within the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The march was a resounding success and South Africa recognises the bravery of these women who risked arrest, detention and banning by declaring 9 August National Women’s Day.