National Women's Day in South Africa Date in the current year: August 9, 2016

National Women's Day in South Africa August 9 is National Women's Day in South Africa. This public holiday was established to commemorate the national march of women that took place on August 9, 1956, during the apartheid era.

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation, which the government of South Africa began to reinforce in 1948. During the apartheid era, the so-called pass laws (officially the Urban Areas Act) significantly restricted the movement of black South Africans.

On August 9, 1956, over 50,000 women marched towards the Union Buildings (the official seat of the government) in the city of Pretoria. They protested against the proposed amendments to the pass laws. Having left petitions at the office doors of the Prime Minister, they stood silently outside the building for half an hour. The phrase from the protest song they sang during the march became a symbol of the strength and courage of South African women: “You strike a woman, you strike a rock”.

National Women's Day was officially declared as a public holiday in 1994, it has been celebrated each year ever since. In 2006, the 50th anniversary of the march was marked with a reenactment of the events that occurred in 1956. Many of the march veterans participated in the reenactment.

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