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Words from the women who marched in 1956 to inspire you today

The 1956 Anti-Pass Women’s March was an incredible event in South African history. Women from all races and walks of life, came together and challenged an oppressive system that undermined their basic human rights. A group of fiery women thought “enough is enough” and that something had to be done. So they stood up and spoke out! Here are some powerful words from a few of those incredible women, to inspire you this Women’s Day. Albertina Sisulu “We are each required to walk our own road and then stop, assess what we have learnt, and share it with others. It is only in this way that the next generation can learn from those who have walked before them. We can do no more than tell our story. Then it is up to them to make of it what they will.” Ma Sisulu reminds you never to take your experiences for granted. They’re wrapped with lessons not only help to grow you, but which you can share to help empower and encourage the next girl along their journey. Helen Joseph “These Freedoms we will fight for, side by side, throughout our lives, until we have won our liberty.” Helen inspires you to remember that you’re fighting the same battles as a lot of the women around you. Collaborate and work with the people who you have a common goal with. This way, you know that you’re with people who want to see you win. You also get to share your struggles and victories with these like-minded people. Lilian Ngoyi “I* must say I had a tough time, but my spirits have not been dampened…I am looking forward to the day when my children will share in the wealth of our lovely South Africa. When I die, I’ll die a happy person because I have seen the rays of our new South Africa rising.*” Lilian shares something profound. She says that your circumstances or set backs don’t have to change who you are. Instead, they’re supposed to reveal your strengths, ambitions and will-power. Stay true to who you are and never lose hope in your dreams. Sophia Williams-De Bruyn “There is a great life for women now, and women demanded this. But what women are not doing, is to take their sisters with them and elevate them as well” Sophia wants to see a generation of women that aren’t intimidated by their fellow women. Instead, she wants to see young women like you be inspired by others, and even wiling to lend a helping hand to see them succeed. Remember, there’s room for everyone at the table- including you. “Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo: You strike a woman, you strike a rock.” In other words, you’re a force to be reckoned with. Take these words and imprint them in your mind. You’re standing on the shoulders of giants who dared to believe that a day like today was even possible. Happy Women’s Day.

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