Editorial: Saluting women, then and now, with 60 profiles of heroes

Sixty years ago, more than 20 000 women of different backgrounds, social classes and races marched to the seat of the apartheid government to protest against the pass laws. Organised by the Federation of South African Women, which famously rebelled against the notion that a woman’s place was in the kitchen by declaring it to be “everywhere”, the march is now regarded as one of the key moments in the struggle. We remember this day as Women’s Day every year on August 9.

To mark this anniversary, the Mail & Guardian has a special insert inside its Women’s Month supplement Abafazi, highlighting some of the leaders of that seminal march in 1956.

The march required a tremendous level of co-operation between trade unions and civic and political organisations, all of them led by women. We have attempted to capture the sheer scale of this accomplishment in our insert &nash; see the online version (mg.co.za/abafazi2016) for 60 profiles of these heroes.

This history is a great inspiration to women today, who still face difficulties. Yet Women’s Month is increasingly being treated like a shopping holiday. It has become an opportunity to patronise women, if not to exploit them cynically for commercial gain.

The M&G prefers to use this time to reflect. This year, our writers, thinkers and artists explore the multilayered intersections of modern womanhood: identity, politics and power.


You can read pieces by Khadija Patel, Mohale Mashigo, Athandiwe Saba, Anastacia Tomson and Lady Skollie (who designed the Abafazi cover artwork) in the special, and also by Sisonke Msimang and Pontsho Pilane. Hopefully, by not shying away from the difficult and the complex, we can have a meaningful dialogue by women and for women during Women’s Month.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…