On 9 August 1956 one of the most historic events in the struggle for freedom and women’s rights in South Africa, took place in Pretoria. It was on this day that more than 20 000 women of different races staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.
They left petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom’s office doors. Outside they stood silently for 30 minutes, many with their children on their backs. The women sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo!(Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.). In the 58 years since, the phrase (or its latest incarnation: “you strike a woman, you strike a rock“) has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.
The march was organised by the Federation of South African Women (FSAW) and was led by four remarkable women: Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophie Williams De Bruyn.
The march was a resounding success and South Africa recognises the bravery of these women who risked arrest, detention and banning by declaring 9 August National Women’s Day.
Today, we also use the public holiday to celebrate the remarkable achievements and the tenacious spirits of the fearless females who continue to advocate for change, defy norms and stand up for what they believe in.
…We are women from every part of South Africa.
We are women of every race, we come from the cities and the towns, from the reserves and the villages.
We come as women united in our purpose to save the African women from the degradation of passes…
In the name of women of South Africa, we say to you, each one of us, African, European, Indian, Coloured, that we are opposed to the pass system. We voters and voteless, call upon your Government not to issue passes to African women.
We shall not rest until ALL pass laws and all forms of permits restricting our freedom have been abolished.
We shall not rest until we have won for our children their fundamental rights of freedom, justice, and security.
– Taken from a Petition presented to the Prime Minister on 9 August 1956.
Join us on August 12th as we celebrate South African women
August is women’s month. Xavier Nagel Agencies and Bibliophilia Bookstore have joined forces to bring you an amazing event taking place in Woodstock on August 12th. Join us for an evening of art, music, food, poetry and an opportunity to celebrate local women who are not only talented, but are beacons of inspiration for women everywhere.
Prufrock is South Africa’s best magazine of new writing. In it you will find fiction, non-fiction and poetry in all of South Africa’s languages. It was first launched in May 2013 and continues to be an amazing source for new talent.
The latest edition is titled Sol Plaaitjie: Two articles and it includes the work of a few of the contributors mentioned below.
Andre Sales is a bookseller at Clarke’s Bookshop, and hosts occasional dinner parties at his home in the Bo-Kaap as La Petite Mort. To come to one of these dinner parties, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Genna Gardini is the author of Matric Rage (uHlanga, 2015), a collection of poetry from which her contribution in this issue is taken. She currently lives in Cape Town, where she works as a teacher and critic.
Phil Kramer is a musician, dj and very infrequent animator. he is currently at work on his first studio album, end of an era. you can reach him at email@example.com
Rosa Lyster is a writer living in Cape Town. Her first book of poems, Modern Rasputin, will be published later this year.
Helen sullivan is the editor of Prufrock and writes a monthly column at Casimirtv.com
If you find yourself in Grahamstown this weekend….do not miss the reading of Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush mouse by Rob Van Vuuren.
This is a beautiful children’s story about believing in yourself, accepting others as they are and the wonder of friendship.
Louisa Punt-Fouché holds a D.Phil Degree in Psychology and has more than 30 years experience as a clinical psychologist, researcher, and lecturer in the field of Jungian psychology.
Louisa is also an established visual artist, author, yoga instructor, canteadora (keeper of stories) and activist for animal rights. Three years ago she and her husband moved to the Prince Albert Valley where they live and work on the Kredouw Olive Farm. She also makes jewellery and environmentally friendly vegan olive oil products.
Some of her previous books include Webs of Enchantment and Daar is kewers in my ruggraat.
Click on the link below to learn more about this incredible author and artist.
Are you looking to adopt a dog? Support a worthy cause? Looking for a book with beautiful portraits of rescue dogs? Well…..look no further!
As animal lovers we at XNA are proud to support this amazing project.
Mutts the Book
Mutts is a coffee table book of beautiful rescue dog portraits and their inspirational stories which will be sold to raise funds for two doggy charities.
Quirky, loving, strong, spirited, loyal and special….mixed breed dogs boast all of these qualities and more. Yet, they are sadly overlooked because too many people perceive them as ordinary and somehow inferior to pure breed dogs.
The truth is that animal shelters are bursting at the seams with these unique animals but they are often the last choice to be adopted because they don’t fall into a specific breed category.
‘Mutts’ will showcase the incredible variety and beauty of mixed breed dogs and offer readers a glimpse into their great personalities, loving natures and incredible stories of second chances.
No dog lover’s coffee table will be complete without it.
To support this cause and ensure that ‘Mutts’ is available in bookstores, please see the link below.
There is something VERY exciting happening at Love Books on Saturday…..Florence and Watson and The Sugarbush Mouse will be read by none other than the hilarious Rob Van Vuuren.
Tell your friends and family and make sure you don’t miss out on this fun filled morning.
Don’t miss this amazing Book launch taking place on June 8th. Pienkes du Plessis will be talking about his journey along the Camino de Santiago and sharing experiences that are only glimpsed in his book.
Author Michael Smorenburg was recently interviewed about his incredible book ‘The Praying Nun’. Click on the link below to read about the writing process and research needed for this (true story) of the discovery and excavation of a slave ship across the backdrop of Clifton Bay!
The praying nun: an interview with Michael Smorenburg
Collective Amnesia is a poetry book that has a place in every household.
The poet Koleka Putuma’s debut collection will move you to tears, make you laugh out loud and lead you on an incredible journey of self discovery.
Follow the link below and read Bongani Madondo’s incredible review of Collective Amnesia and get your copy today!
Portrait of the poet as a young genius: Bongani Madondo reviews Koleka Putuma’s Collective Amnesia