2017- National Women’s Year
It is often a bit tricky when trying to figure out how to celebrate National Women’s day without thinking of picking up a piece of cardboard and marching towards the Union Buildings.
We could easily go over women who are making head waves in the country and throughout the world, but we need to understand that ordinary South Africans at any moment can come together and still be as powerful as the women of 1956. Although it isn’t Mother’s day yet, it would be unbecoming for us not to commemorate the heroines of 1956. And with the blessing of what we know as the World Wide Web, we don’t have to limit ourselves to one day in a year; 61 years later and the women of South Africa have found yet another way to come together and shake up the socio-political issues of the country.
Earlier in the year, social media went into a frenzy with the hashtag MenAreTrash. Yes, I am going there. To some it might have been a liberating moment to discuss and bring to light, the patriarchal and oppressive nature of male culture and to others; it was a waste of time, filled with highlighting the problem with no solutions. Whichever side of the argument you were on, you cannot deny that was a moment that needed recognition and appreciation. The women or rather individuals gendered as non-male came together against bigger issues such as gender-based violence and let their voices be heard.
As women we can sometimes forget how far we’ve come because, we are faced with the reality of the journey that lies ahead. If we allow the events of 9 August 1956 to become the catalyst, we need to face our struggles head-on and understand that nothing is beyond our capabilities. The world will yet to understand the phrase: “Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo!
It is days such as these that remind us that all that we have now did not come easy and therefore nothing from this point on ever will. We don’t want easy, we don’t resonate with easy. The struggle is far from being over. If anything, each generation has their contribution to make. But in retrospect, what does the day mean to me? Well, National Women’s day for me validates my presence; it gives me a leg to stand on every time I am made to feel as if women had no role in building this country. It gives me fuel in knowing that I am not the first nor will I be the last.