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Women's Month 2019
South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August.
Women’s Month takes place against a backdrop of an increase in the levels of violence and brutality against women and children in our society.
The day marks the Women’s March to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956. On that day up to 20 000 women of all races, class and religious pesuasions protested against the extension of Pass Laws. The march was a turning point in the role of women in the struggle for freedom and our society at large.
The national celebrations will also include the National Dialogues on Violence against Women to help combat the continued scourge of violent attacks and abuse against women. The dialogues are a platform for deepening democracy whilst ensuring safer and crime-free communities especially for women and children.
Women's Day 9 August
On 9 August 1956, about 20 000 women of all races marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the discriminatory pass laws which had restricted the movement of black people in the country. This march has been celebrated since 1995 as Women’s Day, to recognise the important and significant role that political activism by women played during the struggle for liberation against colonisation and apartheid.
During the Month of August, a number of activities aimed at creating awareness and promoting understanding of women issues will be held throughout the country.
The national celebrations are all the more significant because the African Union has prioritised women empowerment by declaring 2015 as the “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063.”
International Day of the World's Indigenous People 2019
In 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year.
The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1992, of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Indigenous peoples contribute extensibly to humanity's cultural diversity, enriching it withmore than two thirds of its languages and an extrordinary amount of its traditional knowledge.
There are over 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries, living in all regions of the world. The situation of indigenous peoples in many parts of the world is critical today. Poverty rates are significantly higher among indigenous peoples compared to other groups.
While they constitute 5 per cent of the world's population, they are 15 per cent of the world's poor. Most indicators of well-being show that indigenous peoples suffer disproportinately compared to non-indigenous peoples.
Indigenous peoples face systemic discrimination and exclusion from political and economic power; they continue to be over-represented among the poorest, the illiterate, the destitute; they are displaced by wars and environmental disasters; indigenous peoples are dispossessed of their ancestral lands and deprived of their resources for survival, both physical and cultural; they are even robbed of their very right to life.
International Youth Day 12 August
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
African Traditional Medicine Day 31 August
Commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day coincides with the date, 31 August 2000, on which the ministers of health adopted the relevant resolution at the 50th session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Traditional African medicine is a holistic discipline involving the use of indigenous herbalism combined with aspects of African spirituality.
About 80% of Africa's population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs. In some cases traditional medicine is the only healthcare service available, accessible and affordable to many people on the continent. In this case the significant contribution of traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare services in Africa cannot be underestimated.
The National Department of Health recognises that there is an entrenched historical bias towards Western/allopathic healthcare that has a long history.
The Government has committed itself to the involvement of traditional healers in official healthcare services. This includes the several types of traditional healthcare practitioners who can be broadly categorised as diviners, herbalists, faith healers and traditional birth attendants. These practitioners are separated by the methods that they use to diagnose and treat their patients. They also employ a number of different traditional formularies.
Traditional health practitioners (THPs) and traditional medicine are critical components of the healthcare discipline for millions of our people, especially in the rural areas. It is through regulated practice that a meaningful contribution of the THPs in Primary Healthcare activities would be enhanced and facilitated.
The Department of Health has taken steps towards the official recognition and institutionalisation of African traditional medicine by establishing a directorate of Traditional Medicine within the National Department of Health as well as enacting the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, 2007 (Act No 22 of 2007) which established the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council.
Ambassador P I Malefane
South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey