As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the famous demonstrations in front of the Union buildings in Pretoria staged by 20,000 women of all races and classes establishing the oneness of South African society, we are once again confronted by the demons of racism, of inequality and of continued strife.
Ironically August 9th also marks the 71st anniversary of the detonation of the second massive atomic bomb on Hiroshima. A deed that some try to claim was justified. Killing over 250000 people and maiming many thousands more can have no justification in my view.
Who suffered most of all? It was and is women as they give birth to deformed children and are faced with the arduous task of caring for them and witnessing their agony.
So the lesson learnt from the women’s march of 1956 is of how one can make a point, an impressive mark that remains in the annals of history through disciplined nonviolent action. They came peacefully to the Union buildings with no weapons but babies on their backs. They delivered the petitions signed by thousands calling for the abolition of the pass laws and they left peacefully , leaving behind an untarnished landscape.
Why do we need weapons? Why do we continue to use violence as a preferred method of protest when our mothers succeeded in demonstrating loudly and clearly that you can use disciplined nonviolent action effectively. Let us heed this important message and spread it to the future generations