Women cel­e­brated

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - PIC­TURE: KOPANO TLAPE / GCIS

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma de­liv­ered his Na­tional Women’s Day mes­sage at Galeshewe Sta­dium in Kim­berly in the North­ern Cape yes­ter­day, un­der the theme: ‘The year of OR Tambo: Women United in Mov­ing South Africa Foward’, as a tribute to the con­tri­bu­tion of women in the lib­er­a­tion Strug­gle, while ob­serv­ing the cen­te­nary of Strug­gle icon Oliver Regi­nald Tambo and his con­tri­bu­tion to­wards end­ing gen­der in­equal­i­ties.

THE STREETS of Pre­to­ria came alive yes­ter­day as a crowd marched to the Women’s Liv­ing Her­itage Mon­u­ment at Lil­ian Ngoyi Square to cel­e­brate Women’s Day.

Among them were fe­male Strug­gle veterans, the lead­er­ship of var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions, ANC Women’s League mem­bers and women from var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties.

Fe­male metro po­lice of­fi­cers, march­ing and on mo­tor­bikes, led marchers, in­clud­ing Gaut­eng Pre­mier David Makhura and MEC for Arts and Cul­ture Faith Maz­ibuko.

Peo­ple waved small South African flags as they marched the 2.2km from Bos­man Sta­tion, via Paul Kruger Street, into Jeff Masemola Street and then Lil­ian Ngoyi Street, where they came to a stop at the mon­u­ment.

With Maz­ibuko as the MC for the day, the event was alive and per­me­ated by her vi­brant per­son­al­ity.

This year’s Women’s Day was cel­e­brated un­der the theme “Year of Oliver Tambo: Women United in Mov­ing Gaut­eng City Re­gion For­ward”, the aim be­ing to re­live the 1956 Women’s March.

There were per­for­mances to en­ter­tain the crowd. One which grabbed ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion and led to some emo­tion was that of a group of 10 gay boys, who call them­selves Mzansi Gay Choir.

Makhura fo­cused on the predica­ment women and girls faced. He pleaded with par­ents to en­cour­age girls to stay in school as ed­u­ca­tion was the key to suc­cess.

“If girls stay in school they will be ed­u­cated and have money. Then things like get­ting into re­la­tion­ships for money and men abus­ing women can be avoided,” he said.

Makhura ex­pressed his un­hap­pi­ness over the killings of young women by their part­ners, call­ing on po­lice to do their job.

He also took his time to lash at blessers.

“Our other big­gest prob­lem is th­ese men who call them­selves blessers. They be­long in jail,” he said. “They tar­get par­tic­u­larly young women, promis­ing them heaven and earth, and there are a lot here in Tsh­wane.”

The pre­mier also called for a cam­paign to shut down places where blessers were most likely to be found. “Can we have a cam­paign that will shut th­ese places down please?” he asked.

The pro­gramme was con­cluded by prayer, and ev­ery­one was granted an op­por­tu­nity to view the in­te­rior of the mon­u­ment and to take pictures. Peo­ple also posed next to the stat­ues of Lil­ian Ngoyi, He­len Joseph, Rahima Moosa and So­phie de Bruyn at the site. The four were the lead­ers of the women when they marched to the Union Build­ings 61 years ago.

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