Lillian Ngoyi monument a beacon of hope for women

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pretoria - The Women's Monument that will be erected at Lillian Ngoyi Square in the capital city of South Africa will serve as a symbol of hope to all women, says Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

The monument, which is in memory of the group of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest of the oppressive pass laws of the day, will stand proudly next to the State Theatre along Lillian Nqoyi Street (formerly known as Van der Walt Street).

"It is imperative that we have a monument to honour the 1956 women," said Mokonyane on Thursday, as South Africa celebrated Women's Day.

The living monument will include a multi-purpose centre that will provide space for formal and informal training for women; market access for local crafts and provide information to the young generation about the women's struggle for emancipation.

It will also serve as a leadership training centre where women will be taught about political and developmental issues.

The Gauteng provincial government, in partnership with the City of Tshwane, will build the monument, and have set aside roughly R100 million and R8 million respectively.

Women from various provinces today descended on the City of Tshwane to celebrate Women's Day. They proceeded from Lillian Ngoyi Square (formerly known as Strijdom Square - the point from which the 1956 women marched) to the Union Buildings, escorted by traffic officials and singing freedom songs.

The 9 August 1956 march to the Union Buildings was led by four women -- Charlotte Maxeke, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams De Bruyn.

South Africa now observes August as Women's Month. It is a tribute not only to the thousands of women who marched in 1956, but also to the pioneers of the women's movement in the country.