Tomorrow We Will Celebrate Women’s Day: A statement from: Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League

August 8, 2023

Tomorrow we celebrate Women’s Day, which is held on the anniversary of the women’s march in 1956 when 20,000 women marched against the pass laws. That march was also about the wider issues of patriarchy, racism and classism. The women who led the march were Hellen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams De Bruyn and we honour them each year. We also honour the women who were at the forefront of the riots in Cato Manor in 1959, including Dorothy Nyembe and Florence Mkhize. Women living in shacks played a major role in the struggle against apartheid and continue to play a major role in today’s struggles.

Photo: Abahlali baseMjondolo

Tomorrow we will honour the women who have given their lives in our struggle: Nqobile Nzuza was shot from behind by the police in Cato Manor during a protest on Sept. 30, 2013. After a long struggle a police officer was convicted for this murder. Thuli Ndlovu was assassinated in her home in KwaNdengezi on Sept. 29, 2014. After another long struggle two ANC councillors and their assassin were convicted for her murder. Zamekile Shangase was shot dead by the police in Asiyindawo, Lamontville, on July 29, 2021, during a “show your receipt” raid. There has been impunity for this murder. Nokuthula Mabaso was assassinated in the eKhenana Commune on May 5, 2022. Samson and Mhlanganyelwa Ngubane, both powerful people in the local ANC with connections to the taxi mafia, were arrested and charged with murder but the charges were provisionally withdrawn after the autopsy results were “lost.”

We will continue to demand justice for Zamekile and Nokuthula.

Nokuthula once said that “we didn’t choose this life, but landlessness made us live like this.” The price for land and dignity cannot continued to be paid in blood.

The spirits of Nqobile, Thuli, Zamkile and Nokuthula live in us and we honour their lives.

We cannot continue to accept evictions, social abandonment and impoverishment. We cannot continue to accept the violence that is all around us. We need to build a peaceful society in which there is full equality between men and women, a society in which land, wealth and power are shared. We need to build socialism from below. To get there we need to build women’s power by organising ourselves from below. We need to support each other, to encourage a family feeling in our branches, as we face impoverishment, state violence and violence in society, landlessness and the epidemic of substance abuse that affects many of our children.

We will be holding two events for women’s day. In Durban there will be an event at the YMCA hall on Aug. 9. We will be joined by women from other progressive organisations and will discuss issues facing us as women. There will also be a workshop in Mpumalanga on Aug. 13 discussing women’s rights and our role in the struggle, in our communities and homes. It will be held at the Amersfoort community hall.

Now is the time to say Enough is Enough! Now is the time to honour the fallen! Now is the time to build women’s power from below and in struggle!

Land & Dignity!
Zandile Nsibande 073 611 8279
Snenhlanhla Mcanyana 073 832 3331
Thabisa Maphela 069 572 1094

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