What is the history of National Women’s Day in South Africa?

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9 August is an important date for working-class women in South Africa, Africa and the world. On this day in 1956, 20 000 women of different races, religions, geographies, sectors and class locations took to the streets of Pretoria.

These fearless women handed over a petition with more than 100 000 signatures and placed them at the doorstep of the state. While today, 9 August marks National Women’s Day in South Africa, 1956 was one of the largest mobilisations of women in the history of the African continent.

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