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“These are important stories as they define who we are and who we could become.” – Carole Adriaans SAWW President

SAWW honors unique women in their efforts to make our world a better place. Every year SAWW honors women who have served their communities in education, health, the arts, and liberation movements. These women are stories of triumph over adversity. It is important not only to honor these women, but to learn from them. Engaging their wisdom, and from that, empowering our own individual spirit, and societal progress. Come share in the wisdom of empowerment. And join us in recognizing the many unsung heroes. Contact us to let us know of any remarkable women. Or to find out when this year’s awards are happening!

An annual gala event celebrates South African Women's Day and honours outstanding achievements. It is the highlight of our year and our main fund-raiser.

On August 9,1956, twenty thousand women from all strata of South African society converged on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to see the Prime Minister.

At great personal cost and in the face of concerted official obstruction, the women came to voice their opposition to the government’s decision to extend the hated pass laws to women. It was a historic and moving occasion.

All gatherings in Pretoria were banned that day, so the women walked to the Union Buildings in groups of never more than three. All Pretoria was filled with women wearing the green and black Congress blouses, brilliant saris and ochre robes with elaborate head scarves.

As the women slowly filled the hillside amphitheatre which flanks the pillared wings of the Union Buildings, their leaders went in and left hundreds of thousands of signed petitions at the office of the Prime Minister who, of course, was not available to see them.

Afterwards they stood in complete silence in the winter sun-even the babies on their backs did not cry - for thirty minutes, then they burst into the magnificent harmonious singing of the anthems, Nkosi sikele’ iafrika and Morena Boloka. The singing, as they dispersed, echoed over the city, and the women began a new freedom song.

The 1956 demonstration shook the apartheid regime for it was impressive evidence of the power of angry, but highly organized women and it marked an important stage in the growth of unity among the oppressed.

We acknowledge the
contributions of the many women who sacrificed so much and are inspired by their perseverance and triumphs.

We will remember.

Remember all our women
in the jails

Remember all our women
in campaigns

Remember all our women
over many fighting years

Remember all our women
in their triumphs,
and for their tears

Womens Day Song