International Woman’s Day
South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey
In this important day, the International Woman’s Day, the South African Embassy in Ankara Turkey wishes to celebrate women and their countless achievements on gender equality across the world. This celebration cannot be complete if in this year of Nelson Mandela, mention is not made on how this global icon interpreted and perceived the issue of women and their role in modern society.
While celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela we cannot forget the contribution he made and devotion he showed to the empowerment of women. With International Women’s Day celebrated on 8 March, the contribution made by Nelson Mandela cannot be under-estimated and should be emphasised. Since the earliest days of the struggle against Apartheid, Nelson Mandela understood the role of women and that a successful society could not be achieved without gender equality.
He went on to say in support of this statement:
"Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated... from all forms of oppression. Our endeavors must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child."
Nelson Mandela further recognised that women played a critical role in the anti-apartheid movement with one of the most memorable moments being the 9th August 1956 when over 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest legislation requiring black women to carry passes in urban areas.
South Africa later incorporated women’s rights into its Constitution and became a signatory to the United Nations Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
South Africa further more designated the ’16 Days of Activism’ against violence against women in December of each year and established a Commission for Gender Equality as well as a Minister for Women in the Presidency.
Nelson Mandela also went beyond rhetoric and took political action to improve the lives of women. We shall forever be indebted to him all heroines such as Abertina Sisulu in their unrelenting fight against patriarchy and gender discrimination.
The South Africa Embassy in Ankara, Turkey wishes all women of the world a peaceful day and to remember all those who perished due to wars and conflicts that are persistently ongoing and causing misery and hardship to innocent children.
Ambassador Pule Malefane