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.