The Women Who Inspire Us

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Women’s Month: The Women Who Inspire Us

On the 9 August 1956, twenty thousand people took to the streets, in a march towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Twenty thousand women came together and said: “Enough is enough!”

Twenty thousand people marching in protest against the country’s pass laws at the time. Long before Instalikes or retweets, or because it’s “something to do on a Thursday”.

The marchers, led by Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, and Bertha Mashaba, came together in unison. To take a stand against the carrying of passbooks at the time. But what was unique about this march barring the number of marchers? And the 16 000 signed petitions they carried to deliver?

They were all women.

Yes, because even in an oppressed system based on skin colour, and furthermore culturally and socially perceived as being “less”, South African women took a stand. They did so by marching to the Union Buildings in a determined, though orderly, manner, after which the huge crowd stood in absolute silence for 30 minutes.

The march was a massive success. Women had shown that the their stereotype of being politically inept and immature was outdated and inaccurate. And thus, we celebrate Women’s Day as a public holiday annually. To commemorate and honour the thousands of women who played a definitive role in the eventual collapse of the Apartheid system.

South Africa, and women specifically, has come a long way since then. Although the fight against domestic abuse, inequality, and general safety for women still continues, there are women making differences in the country. We take a look at them and how you, our Greenstone shopper, can support them in their cause.

Thabiso Mahlape

If you’re an avid reader of our blog, you’ll know by now that we’re big book advocates. Which is why we’re excited to introduce to you Thabiso Mahlape. Thabiso is the founder of Blackbird Books, a publishing house for black writers. Blackbird is a ground-breaking move in the South African literary landscape. Through this exciting imprint, Mahlape aims to pioneer a new framework for South African narratives. Watch Thabiso’s inspiring TEDx talk HERE

The Black Mambas

The Black Mambas is a group of activists that patrol The Greater Kruger National Park, on foot, against rhino poaching. The group was founded in 2013 by Transfrontier to protect Balule National Park against poachers. Their efforts saw a 76% reduction in poaching in the area as well as several top conservation awards. As activists for all things Green, we at Greenstone salute these women. If you’d like to support the unit by donating to the cause, check out their website HERE

Caster Semenya

Our golden girl needs no introduction. Even with all the controversy and the uphill battle the Athletic Federation continues to throw her way, time after time, Caster Semenya pounces back each and every time. With the utmost grace and class that everyone can only aspire to.

And so, we – as a forward-thinking country when it comes to the noble ideals of equality for all – celebrate women in August. Specifically  on the 9th, which is our Women’s Day public holiday.

If you’re free, pop into Greenstone on the day and celebrate the achievements of the many South African women who fight everyday for equality. Do so with a nice lunch at one of our wonderful eateries and restaurants.

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