Hun­dreds re­en­act 1913 march

Weekend Witness - - News - NALINI NAIDOO

PAR­TIC­I­PANTS in to­day’s 1913 com­mem­o­ra­tive march were trans­ported back in time when they re­ceived spe­cial “cen­te­nary” copies of Weekend Wit­ness.

Th­ese were in the for­mat of an early 20th cen­tury news­pa­per, car­ry­ing some of the news and pic­tures of the day.

The news­pa­pers were de­liv­ered to the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Sta­tion at 2 am. A train en route from Dur­ban picked up pas­sen­gers join­ing the throng of more than a thou­sand peo­ple re­en­act­ing the march.

The event marks the cen­te­nary of the great march of 1913 led by Ma­hatma Gandhi and women who wanted the scrap­ping of a £3 tax im­posed on in­den­tured labour­ers and the le­gal recog­ni­tion of Hindu and Mus­lim mar­riages.

Women led this strug­gle be­cause the non­recog­ni­tion of their mar­riages meant they were con­cu­bines and their chil­dren il­le­git­i­mate.

They mo­bilised minework­ers in Dundee and New­cas­tle and soon the strike spread across Natal. Protest­ing women went to jail in their num­bers.

The march is be­ing com­mem­o­rated for its im­pact on South Africa’s his­tory and for demon­strat­ing the power of peace­ful protest.

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