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This month in history

The 1956 Women’s March

On 9 August 1956, some 20 000 women from across the country, some from as far afield as Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, filled the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria to present signed petitions opposing the apartheid law that compelled African women to carry passes.

Neither Prime Minister JG Strijdom nor any of his senior staff were there to see the women, so the leaders left the huge bundles of signed petitions outside Strijdom's office door.

Thereafter, the crowd stood in utter silence for 30 minutes before breaking into Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. Without exception, those who participated in the event described it as a moving and emotional experience.

Source: South African History Online –  www.sahistory.org.za