LAGOS, Nigeria; 18th September 2018
The South Africa’s National Women’s Day 2018 was celebrated in Lagos at the Federal Palace Hotel on September 6, 2018. Hosted by the South African Consulate in Nigeria, the event was attended by dignitaries, media partners, stakeholders and Consuls General including Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and several other countries .
The National Women’s Day is an annual South African public holiday which commemorates the 1956 women’s march in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass law and this year, South Africa remembers Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu; a political activist, a nurse and one of the important leaders of anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. She amongst other women spear-headed the march of 1956 and this year, South Africa celebrates her centenary.
Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu who was often referred to as the “Mother of the Nation” lived with the people and lead them to rise against the abominable system of Apartheid and misogyny. From Cape Town, Soweto to Huhundi and Galeshewe, she was known for her warmth as a leader, whose love for freedom was unwavering.
Mr. Oluwaseyi Adegoke Adeyemo of Inside Watch Africa alongside Mrs. Poppy Ravhura compered the event, taking the guests down memory lane back to the march of 1956, explaining the meaning of the words they chanted as they walked to the Union Building.
wathint’ imbokodo, uza kufa!
[When] you strike the women, you strike a rock,
you will be crushed [you will die]!
— Rallying call for Women.
In a welcome address by Mr. Darkey Africa, Consul General of South Africa, talked about the legacy Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu left behind “We learn about leadership, through her suffering, we learn about the patience of a nurse to conquer pain. We learn about her burning desire to release her people from the pain of oppression. We learn about selflessness and service to humanity”.
Mr. Darkey closed his speech with a call-to-action for all to emulate the life and times of Albertina Sisulu by intensifying efforts to end the subjugation of women in the society. He said, “Mama Sisulu calls on us to forever strive for this ideal, to emancipate women so that Africa can prosper. We must now begin to nurture a 100 more Albertina Sisulus. None amongst us can be her, but we can emulate her example, know her story and attempt to help humanity”.
The event ended with a closing remark by Ms. N Koni, reminding everyone why August 9th is an celebrated day. She said, “We mark this day to remind ourselves of the great contributions women have made to build our societies, while at the same time recognize the challenges that women still face in fully enjoying their fundamental human rights”.
This year is of special significance as it commemorates the birth of Albertina Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and the formation of the Bantu Women’s League – the Bantu Women’s League was the first women’s organization in South Africa which was founded in 1918.