"56 years of women united against poverty, inequality and unemployment"
Women's day marks the anniversary of the great women's march of 1956, where women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the carrying of pass books.
On 9 August 1956, about 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas.
Women’s day programme
President Jacob Zuma addresses the main event at the Union Buildings. The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, the Department of Arts and Culture, Gauteng Provincial Government and the City of Tshwane are working together to ensure a successful commemoration.
Watch the video of the event.
The formal programme of 9 August was preceded by the following key activities:
Night Vigil – City Hall, Tshwane (8 - 9 August 18h00 – 06h00)
On the eve of Women’s Day, women will hold a night vigil in memory of the 1956 March and in honour of the women who contributed to the attainment of freedom in our country. An interdenominational prayer and worship will be held in memory of all the heroines and women veterans who took part in the march.
Unveiling of the Women’s Memorial Site (Sod Turning Ceremony at Lillian Ngoyi Square)
One of the major activities planned for this year’s celebration is the launch of the Women’s Monument at Lillian Ngoyi Square in Tshwane on the morning of 9 August.
The monument is in memory of all the women who took part in the 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings. It will be a living monument which includes the multi-purpose centre, will provide space for formal and informal training for women, provide market access for local crafts and provide information to the young generation about the women’s struggle for emancipation.
March to the Union Buildings
The leaders, dignitaries and women will march from Lillian Ngoyi Square to the Union Building where they will join the formal programme. Through this march, participants will be reliving the 1956 march and the journey that 20 000 women travelled in pursuit of our liberation struggle.