Tomorrow (Thursday August 9) South Africa will mark Women’s Day, which commemorates the day in 1956 that more than 20 000 women of all races staged a protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to voice their opposition to the pass laws.
This week we took to the streets asking men and women what they think of Women’s Day.
Zethu Bengu, 27, who works as a security guard in the city center, said: “Women’s Day is very special and important. Men need to treat us well because it’s Women’s Month. Actually, they should treat us well every day.”
When asked if she feels safe as a woman in the city, she said: “I don’t always feel safe. I wish men could respect us as women.”
Limise Ndlovu, 22, who’s a college student said: “We should celebrate Women’s Day because it’s an opportunity to appreciate women. Women are strong and are hustlers for their homes. They make sure that there’s always food on the table. Women play a huge role in the building of the country. We must use the day to show our appreciation.”
Nathan Arthur Festus, 52, who works in the CBD said: “I think that women need to be appreciated every day really. It’s not something that we should set aside. But I suppose if you want to celebrate women then there’s nothing wrong with that. I think that every day should be a special day for women.”
On the safety of women, Mr Festus said, “That’s another subject because from my perspective as a Christian believer, I’ve got my own perspective on that. I hold strong opinions and belief systems on violence in general in South Africa. There’s women on women violence. Women on men violence and violence against kids. South Africa has a very violent history. We are a traumatised nation in many ways.”
Taysier Ismael, 40, who’s a vendor in St Georges Mall said: “The idea of Women’s Day is good but I don’t see a point in it. I don’t think it changes anything about the way things are in South Africa at the moment. I think women are still being abused, manipulated and so on.”
When asked what can be done about gender-based violence, Mr Ismael said: “We live in a violent society. Men don’t know how to communicate. Women are not safe at all. I think we need to be practical. It starts with the law. Police stations need to function better. We need to be practical about the whole thing.”
Cynthia Mafuna, 61, from Gugulethu had a clear message.
“Women must enjoy their day tomorrow. Men must stop abusing us.”