– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase
Women’s month is around the corner and it is important to sit back and reflect on the achievements of women globally. In South Africa, on the 9th of August in 1956, over 20 000 women marched to the Union buildings in Pretoria to present a petition against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act. They protested against the unjust pass laws enforced on women in South Africa. This mass demonstration was pioneered by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophie Williams, who then became the faces of movement. The phrase, “Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo.” has come to represent women and their resilience and strength in South Africa. Acknowledging the heritage behind the meaning of Women’s Month helps with fully appreciating what these women achieved and what South African women are achieving till this day. Apart from their traditional roles as mothers, wives, sisters and nurturers, you cannot ignore the strides being made in business, politics, academia and economics with more and more women reaching top positions.
How can you keep this fire burning? The month of August is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements as well as acknowledging their daily struggles to be seen in the significant role they continue to play in our society. We should show respect and appreciation to the women of the world by encouraging equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all. Allow the actions of the women of 1956 to inspire you to realise your own strength and unlocked potential, and may this motivate you in being an active agent of change in your own community. The spirit of ubuntu is the centre of community, and this represents the culture that we as a nation strive to maintain. A culture of compassion and humanity, ubuntu means “I am, because you are”. May this remind all women to let their achievements re-ignite the spark within their communities.
At UKZN Extended Learning for the month of August we will be offering a series of weekly webinars focusing on empowering and inspiring women. Please check our website for updates on this and RSVP for these webinars here.
We also offer a programme entitled Impactful Leadership for Women on demand, for organisations who would like train all their female employees. Please click here for more information on this programme.