South Africa’s Women’s Day honoured legacy of 1956 women’s March

Rahima Moosa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophia Williams led the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, carrying stacks of petitions to present to the government.

South Africa’s Women’s Day this year honoured the women who led the fight for freedom 60 years ago and shed light on the women still fighting for a better life for people in Africa today.

On 9 August the day was celebrated to showcase the 20,000 South African women who marched in 1956 with the mission of ending the oppressive laws of the then apartheid government.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary, thousands of women reenacted the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. When the women reached the building President Jacob Zuma underwent a ceremony to unveil statues of the four women who led the original march: Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams. The sole surviving member of the group, Sophia Williams, was present.

Statues of the four women were unveiled August 9, 2016, by South Africa President Jacob Zum

In addition, volunteers from the Tshwane (Pretoria) chapter of Way to Happiness Foundation joined the march and handed out 15,000 copies of The Way to Happiness, which is a non-religious moral code written by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

It was reported that one of the volunteers said: “Today’s South Africa is plagued by crime and drug addiction. This booklet empowers women with the practical tools they need to instill the values that are the basis of a happier life, strong families and a thriving society.”

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