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August 9: Women’s Day

Today, the 9th of August, is Women’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa, observed to commemorate the 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The march was organized to protest a law requiring black women to carry “passes”, which dictated where black people could live and work, and, more broadly, were tools of the state’s control of South Africa’s dispossesed majority during apartheid.

  • Practical note on SA public holidays: banks and post offices are closed, as are many shops; and trains, buses and minibus taxis run limited services.

The rest of the world celebrates Women’s Day on March 8, but today’s the day when the trials and triumphs of South Africa’s women are brought to the fore.