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Women's March against the Pass Law

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Emily Keane

on 15 November 2012

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Transcript of Women's March against the Pass Law

Women's March against the Pass Law- August 9th, 1956 Why the march happened -The protest contributed to women playing bigger role in the struggle for freedom and democracy.

-August 9th is now celebrated as National Women's Day in South Africa

-The 50th anniversary of the march resulted in the African government renaming Strijdom Square, (Where the union buildings in Pretoria are), to honor all who took place in the event. They renamed the square the "Lillian Ngoyi Square".

-Women in Africa today pay homage to the women in the past who fought for their rights During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Dutch and the British imposed regulations that controlled the slave population. The South African government enacted "pass laws", which required all males over the age of sixteen to carry a book that contained their personal information and employment history. These books were called "Doms Pas". The books contained stamps that provided proof that the owner could be in the area. Africans would frequently violate the pass laws, since the laws would limit the amount of work available. People who broke the laws did so to provide for their families. The punishment for breaking these laws included harassment, fines, and arrests. During the 1950's, the pass laws were extended to women. African women were not allowed to live in certain towns unless they were employed there. Women without jobs could not live with their husbands in town. Several protests occurred in order to change the pass laws, and one important protest was the women's march on August 9th, 1956. Work Cited "Pass Laws." South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid Web. 13 Nov. 2012. http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/multimedia.php?id=3 "The 1956 Women's March." South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid Web. 13 Nov. 2012. http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/multimedia.php?id=11 "Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa." About.com African History Web. 14 Nov. 2012. http://africanhistory.about.com/od/apartheid/a/WomensAntiPass.htm Result/effect in South Africa During the march the women sang a freedom song: Wathint' abafazi, Strijdom!

wathint' abafazi,
wathint' imbokodo,
uza kufa

[When] you strike the women,
you strike a rock,
you will be crushed [you will die] "20 000 Women March to the Union Buildings in Protest of Pass Laws | South African History Online." 20 000 Women March to the Union Buildings in Protest of Pass Laws | South African History Online Web. 13 Nov. 2012. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/20-000-women-march-union-buildings-protest-pass-laws>. "Peace History August." Peace History August. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. http://www.peacebuttons.info/E-News/peacehistoryaugust.htm

- African women weren't allowed to live in towns without permission of employment

-made it hard for women to keep a family together with their husbands in town

- dozens of marches to protest laws against african women

on August 9:

- Women (of all races) stood on union building roof tops (in silence) while a petition of 100,000 signatures was handed into the prime ministers office

- Surprised many men

- August 9 = national women's day in Africa What happened South Africa Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/multimedia.php?id=11
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