”Strike a woman, strike a rock” Women’s Month 2015

2015-08-05 06:00

FAR too many South Africans regard Women’s Day as just another good excuse to enjoy a long weekend, but the reason why 9 August is Women’s Day is of far greater importance and impact than that. While the march by thousands of women to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against the carrying of passes is the basis for celebrating 9 August, in actual fact women started to register their protest against their lack of rights long before that.

As long ago as 1913 in Bloem- fontein, 5 000 signatures were gathered as women protested against permits required to prove “formal employment” each month. Then in 1930 in Potchefstroom women got together to protest against the issue of “lodger” permits.

In the mid-fifties the impetus grew as women throughout the country stood up for national liberation, emancipation and equal rights. This countrywide movement culminated in the march of nearly 20 000 women to the Union Buildings to present a petition demanding the withdrawal of the pass laws and equal rights for all. While waiting outside they sang the protest song – and the well-known saying “you strike a woman, you strike a rock” devolved from that song.

August is also Women’s Month – not only to emphasise the need for women to be given equal status and rights, but to emphasise the need for women, young and old, to be safe and protected from the high incidence of physical and mental abuse to which far too many are still subjected. In Umvoti there is a group of dedicated and committed people who are there to assist and support victims. This is the Greytown SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit. On Sunday 9 August there is a fund-raising hike to raise funds for the unit to make sure that assaulted or abused victims are cared for. The unit provides new underwear, toiletries­, care pack, toys to keep little ones who have been abused occupied, and much more. The unit often provides from its own resources and this is why a fund-raiser has been arranged.

It will be a great family outing – a hike on the Blinkwater hiking trail at Seven Oaks. R25 per person and hikers, young and older, need to take along water, picnic lunch, toilet paper and wear comfortable walking shoes. Blinkwater reserve is home to an abundance of birds, flowers, trees and buck and is only accessible via the hiking trail through forest, grasslands, wetlands, streams and more. The walk will be led by Felix Middleton from Crew and Nonthuthuko Nzama, national conservation officer. There will also be a talk at lunchtime from FCS unit members.

For details on how to to get to the walk, to register and to obtain a permit at the Blinkwater Mountain Falls office, phone Natasha Stoltz at 072 362 8047.

This is a wonderful opportunity to view the many interesting and educational features on the Blinkwater trail, but more importantly, you will show support in the fight against violence against women and children, which is crippling society­.

If you are unable to join in the hike, please make up a care packet for a woman or child and drop it off at the FCS offices above Greytown Build It.

A fund-raising hike has been organised to raise funds for the unit to make sure that assaulted or abused victims are cared for

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