Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo: You Strike the Women, You Strike the Rock.
These words from the famous resistance song, “Nkosi sikelei Afrika,” have come to symbolize the extraordinary courage and strength embodied in the 1956 Women’s March against pass laws and the fortitude of South African women today.
Today, August 9, is National Women’s Day in South Africa. The holiday commemorates the remarkable day in 1956 when 20,000 women from all over the country marched in Pretoria to protest pass laws, among the most destructive to homes and families of the apartheid-era policies.
After dropping off of petitions with more than 100,000 signatures the tremendous crowd stood in total silence for 30 minutes. Then, the women sang the song “Nkosi sikeleli Afrika” in unison, perhaps singing the words, “You strike the women, you strike the rock,” loudest of all.
Above, Naomi Lottering of Manenberg, South Africa with her two-year-old son Shaquille in 2012.
This week I’m taking over the @smithsonianmagazine IG, sharing women-led South African history along with images from “Love From Manenberg" that picture the women resolved to make Manenberg a better place.