This year’s 61st Anniversary of Women’s Day saw the Gauteng Provincial Government livening up the streets of Tshwane, in honour of the thousands of women who marched against pass laws in1956.
The province retraced the women’s march with a 2.2 km march, where women from all walks of life marched from the Pretoria Station and ended at the Women’s Living Heritage Monument at Lilian Ngoyi Square.
This year Women’s Month is celebrated under the theme: “Year of Oliver Tambo: Women United in Moving Gauteng City Region”.
Joining the march was a thirty year-old, Anele Naniso from Arcadia, who said that the march signified the strides made by government to empower women within communities. She said though a lot has been achieved since the dawn of democracy, today lacked respect particularly from the current male leaders.
“Men in leadership positions should do an introspection on how they treat their female counterparts to fight against the scourge of women abuse.
“The leadership should respect women, especially in the male dominated spheres where women are the minority. Moreover the government should host such events more often to continue empowering women in communities,” said Naniso.
In the mist of all the singing and dancing, 62 year-old Emily Molokomme who joined the march from Soshanguve voiced her pride in the women of 1956.
She said today’s youth should recognise the importance of how far the country has come instead of being complacent.
Molokomme said that women like Lilian Ngoyi will forever be celebrated because of their efforts in ensuring that women are afforded equal opportunities in South Africa.
“Pension grants are now available for women on a monthly basis, no matter what the colour of their skin. This goes to show how far we have come in achieving democracy we have today. Moreover men also need to stand up against women abuse and say “Not in Our Name!” and fight against the ill-treatment of women in our societies.
“The government also needs to continue empowering the girl child by providing them with more opportunities and equipping them skills they can use to better their lives,” she added.
Twenty two year-old, Tshidi Mothiba from Attridgeville said that she was happy to see women gathered at the Women’s Living Heritage Monument. “On this day, we are celebrating the milestones made by not only the women of 1956, but also the achievements made by today’s women. We are saying that women must continue to work hard in making sure that they leave a mark in our history. Seeing that we are living in an age where women are treated badly even in public, I would like to urge men to stand up against women abuse as it is wrong in all forms” said Mothiba.