Heroines of the 1956 Women's March at the Union Building
Left to Right: Rahima Moosa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophie Williams de Bruyn

On Thursday August 9 1956, Rahima Moosa with Sophie Williams de Bruyn, Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoyi led thousands of South Africa women against the dompass which restricted who and where women of colour worked, lived and with whom they associated

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The women opposed a number of laws including the Native Laws Amendment Act made it illegal for black people and women to be in urban areas for longer than 72 hour  without a permit

60 years on, the four women has been immortalised in a statue unveiled in Tshwane

Women heeded the call for better representation of women at the time. In the weeks prior to the march, the visibly pregnant, Moosa helped organise a march that would be written about for over half a century

Social media users expressed the value of women beyond just being mothers

Today’s women face a different set of challenges to those faced by Ngoyi et al

With issues such a rape culture, the unresolved #FeesMustFall movement and a host of other social ills continue to threaten the legacy of the 1956 march but it is up to individual women to decide how to carry the torch forward

 

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