Friday 9th August 2019: Women’s Day marks that triumphal day when 20 000 women marched on the Union Buildings in defiance of the pass laws. We salute them and every generation of mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters who stood firmly in the face colonialism and apartheid suffering trauma, pain and hardship yet remained resilient and firm as a rock.
Twenty five years into democracy women continue to make a difference in cabinet, parliament, government, private sector and civil society organizations.
Despite this immense contribution the triple oppression of race, class and gender in respect of women persists.
Inspite of our progressive laws our society is still socially dysfunctional with high levels of femicide, rape and abuse.
Domestic violence is still rearing its ugly head and invariably the victims of such violence are women.
Over the past 25 years there have been many calls for an RDP of the soul. We must take responsibility individually and collectively and we must work to strengthen those institutions tasked with protecting the rights of women, human rights, equality and other such progressive institutions of our democracy.
The gang violence currently gripping the Cape Flats has cost many lives mainly young men. In its wake it leaves mothers, sisters and grandmothers in tears and having to fend for children and families that have lost a breadwinner.
This women’s day we also want to salute Cde Lindiwe Zulu, Ayanda Dlodlo, Thandi Modise and other women like them who fought in Angola and the other frontline states and elsewhere in exile for our freedom. In her statement Lindiwe Zulu said that President Nelson Mandela was not the only one to fight for our freedom is absolutely correct. Those who knew Madiba know that he was always the first to defer to the collective leadership of the ANC. Those who worked with him know that he was the first to acknowledge that “we stood on the shoulders of giants who went before us”.
Within the family, he always said that there are many South Africans who sacrificed more than he did cause they the bled for our struggle for liberation and most paid the ultimate price by dying for our freedom. We need to tell their stories more. It was this quality of taking no personal credit and seeking no personal accolades that endeared him to millions around the globe.
This women’s day we pay tribute to all women regardless of their contribution, young and old, we celebrate you all because on the 9th August 1956 when those courageous women such as Rahima Moosa, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophie de Bruyn (née Williams) marched in defiance of apartheid brutality they marched for all women and indeed they marched for the entire nation.
Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’
(you strike the women, you strike the rock).
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly.