Paying tribute to the heroes of the 1956 women’s march

By Sgt Ally Rakoma
Photos by S Sgt Lebogang Tlhaole

As Women’s Month draws to a close, the Department of Defence/SA National Defence Force hosted a women’s parade to pay tribute to the past heroes of the 1956 women’s march at the Pretoria Military Sport Grounds in Thaba Tshwane on 25 August 2017.

This year’s theme was: “Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”. The historical context of the 1956 courageous women’s march was to protest against the racist pass laws, the demand for recognition as full and equal human beings with no gender discrimination and exploitation.

Maj Gen Catherine Motlhabane, the Chief Director Human Resource Management was the main functionary. In her speech she noted that the historical example of the women of 1956 should guide us all and resolve to build on the gains of women since the advent of our democracy.

She said that women of all walks of life became equal partners in the struggle for a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa. “This is to pay tribute to more than 20 000 women who protested against pass laws as they have also paved a way for women in the defence force”, she said.