Vacationers looking to experience a South African holiday during their excursion to the emerging nation may want to book their trips for early August, when the country celebrates National Women’s Day. The celebration was made an official public holiday back in 1994, and is a testament to the prosperity of the South African people, who have faced much adversity and political struggle over the past several decades.
The event was created to commemorate a massive protest march involving more than 20,000 women in 1956. These women walked to the steps of the Union Building in Pretoria to protest the proposed amendments of the Urban Areas Act, a law that would have required black women to carry passes wherever they go or face criminal prosecution.
Led by a coalition of South African women, the group left bundles of petitions featuring more than 100,00 signatures on the doorstep of J.G. Strijdom, the prime minister at the time. The women then waited outside of the office and sang the holiday’s rousing anthem, Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (roughly translated as “you strike a woman, you strike a rock.).
Today, the country uses the day as a way to celebrate the contribution of women to South African culture, history and society with speeches, festivals and reenactments of that fateful day.