What makes this day so special to South Africans? It was on the 9th of August in 1956 that a large group of women began a campaign to bring an end to the pass laws enforced by the government of the time. The pass laws meant that all black people were to carry a special “pass” or identification document which they had to produce to prove they were permitted to enter a certain area designated for white people. This was a major law of the apartheid regime and greatly restricted the freedom of movement of black people.
The campaign began when some 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in the City of Pretoria to protest certain proposed amendments to the pass laws or Urban Areas Act of 1950. This eventful march on 9 August 1956 was lead by Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Lilian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa and Helen Joseph. Over 100 000 signatures marked a number of petitions which were left with the prime minister at the time, J.G. Stijdom. After handing in these documents at his office they stood quietly outside for about 30 minutes. Soon the women began to sing a protest song with words which translated into “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”. Indeed, these words show the immense courage and strength of women
History Source: www.southafrica.com