South Africa's Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: Women's Day 2021

9 Aug 2021

Your Excellency, Mr Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa President of the Republic of South Africa

Hon. Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture

Hon. Mr Stanley Chupu Mathabatha, Premier of Limpopo Province

Fellow South Africans

Today marks 65 years since that iconic march to the Union Buildings, which saw the brave women of our country take a stand against the country’s pass laws.

As we celebrate Women’s Day today, we honour, remember and salute all women from all generations who have been part of our struggle and have made significant contributions for our nation’s freedom, democracy and development.

We commemorate this important day and month under the theme “The year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Realising Women’s Rights”, in recognition of the 150th birthday anniversary of Mme Charlotte Makgomo Mannya Maxeke.

Mma Maxeke and other fore bearers of our liberation struggle made an invaluable contribution that led to democratic dispensation in our country.

Mma Maxeke was the first black woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Science university degree from Wilberforce University.

She also established colleges in Evaton, Botlokwa and Idutywa.

Working with other leaders, Mma Maxeke established the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. She led the first march against the pass laws in 1913.

As we celebrate this day, we are not oblivious to the many challenges facing women of our country.

The impact of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence and Femicide remains a major concern and is disruptive to our collective efforts to make strides for women empowerment in our country.

COVID-19 has affected the lives and livelihoods of our people with women the hardest hit.

My wish is for South Africans to reflect on the country's strides in achieving gender equality and total emancipation of women. It is also a day for introspection for all of us of the existing challenges facing women of our country.

The scourge of violence against women, poverty, unemployment, exploitation of women, human trafficking, amongst many, are but some of the challenges that need all our concerted efforts.

Let us resolve to eradicate Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in our lifetime.

Let us heed the call by President Ramaphosa that every South African must come on board to eradicate this pandemic that is taking place behind closed doors, in homes, places of worship and workplaces.

Let us work together as Government, civil society and private sector to ensure the full implementation of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.

Economic independence is a key to freeing women from shackles of depending on their perpetrators for livelihoods.

We call on all government departments and the Private Sector give 40% of procurement to women owned business even when there’s no legislation as we all have a moral duty to have a just an equal society as enshrined in our constitution and reach 50-50 by 2030.

Let us lead the way to ensure a just and equal society that the women who marched in 1956 fought for.

Working together we must overcome COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, work for gender parity and realise generation equality in our lifetime.

Have a safe and wonderful Women’s Day!!


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