Solidarity with the struggle of women in South Africa and Namibia

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The day of solidarity with the struggle of women in South Africa and Namibia is celebrated every August 9 at the international level. This date represents the fight for their rights and currently supports awareness of discrimination.

The choice of both geographical areas and the fact of showing solidarity with women, has its antecedent in the horrible crimes committed by Afrikaner Apartheid against black women and girls, between the end of the 40s and the 90s.

To give legitimacy to this segregation, known as Apartheid, which means separation according to the language with which they called themselves the ‘Afrikaans’, derived from Dutch, they legislated on the basis of skin color.

The Afrikaner National Party, during its years of command passed 317 laws to legalize racism and privilege the white minority, which by 1988 constituted 14% of the population.

They governed in a discriminatory way for four decades over Afro-descendants, Indians and mestizos. They built neighborhoods exclusively for whites, the bus system had stops for them and they even had their own beaches; In addition, in order to avoid mixing, they prohibited interracial marriage.

All these measures had repercussions on the women who protested on the 9th of 1956 in front of the government house in Pretoria. Some 20,000 joined their voices in the face of injustice and against the Pass Law, which consisted of the obligation to carry a pass provided to enter urban areas of the country reserved for whites.

The absence of this pass implied numerous limitations and could result in the abandonment of their families or cause them to take their children away from them; moreover, they could not marry or engage in trade without possessing it.

The petition to abolish all laws that advocated carrying this document was accompanied by 100,000 signatures. After delivering it, they remained silent for 30 minutes to conclude the demonstration singing. The hymn composed for the occasion became famous, expressing: Now you touched the women! You moved a rock, you will be crushed!

Since then its use has been maintained as a symbol of courage, strength and determination that characterizes these women and their people. Thanks to this history of struggle, in June 1991 the three chambers of the South African Parliament repealed the last of the laws of the legal compendium that supported apartheid.

A year later, South Africans massively voted in a referendum against this system and in favor of Nelson Mandela’s party having the right to compete in a presidential race, which in the coming years changed the reality of this country.

Celebrating this day allows you to relive events that demonstrate the importance of fighting against racial, gender or ethnic discrimination; and ratifies that at any time, whenever necessary, men and women can and should raise their voices in pursuit of social justice.


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