Hundreds reenact 1913 march
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.