August 9 – National Women's Day in South Africa

Posted on August 9, 2017

On this date in 1956, more than 20 thousand women of all races marched in South Africa's executive capital city of Pretoria.
What were they protesting?

They wanted the end of the "pass laws," which were a kind of internal passport system designed to keep people of different races segregated. 

Get this: black men had to carry pass books whenever they were outside of certain designated areas! Men of other non-
white races also had to carry pass books in many places and situations.

There were several attempts to make pass laws over women's movements, as well - but a LOT of resistance kept putting an end to those attempts. 

The women marched to the Union Buildings and left bundles of petitions - more than 100,000 signatures - at the office door of the Prime Minister. They stood silently for 30 minutes, and then they began to sing a song that translates to "Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock."

The pass laws were a big part of the awful formal segregation system in the nation, which was called apartheid. That system finally ended in 1991, and on this date in 1994 South African women celebrated the first National Women's Day. 

A goal of modern Women's Days is to focus on the problems women still face in SA. The modern version of that song is "You strike a woman, you strike a rock."

Also on this date:

Smokey the Bear's birthday


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