‘From seamstresses, hairdressers, tailors, shoemakers and bakers, to koesister- and medurah-makers- District Six represented a diverse creative industry of bold imagination and style.’
So reads the text on the invitation to join the Museum’s programme on National Women’s Day, 9 August. Of the District Sixers representing the creative industries in the area before its destruction, the majority were women. Some continued to use their skills and talents wherever they lived, while others have more recently revived these skills through various memory projects.
The national theme for the 2018 Women’s Day programme is ‘Press for progress’. You are invited to participate in this programme which will celebrate and honour the contributions of women both now and in the past, acknowledging the struggles and challenges that often stand in the way of creativity. It will be an opportunity to hear how they have ‘pressed for progress’ and you might feel inspired to share your own story. The programme will create space for women to share their experiences of using their creative skills to earn an income, to transfer skills to the next generation, or as tools for healing.
You will also be introduced to the Museum’s wonderful new product range – ‘Memory Threads’- which features products developed from District Six stories and archival sources combined with the skills and expertise of District Six elders.
As we celebrate the women present at the programme, we will also take a moment to acknowledge the origins of National Women’s Day in South Africa which has its beginnings in political struggle under Apartheid. On this day in 1956, thousands of women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against amendments to the already harsh Urban Areas Act, involving the extension of the carrying of passes to African women as another means of restricting their movements.
The Women’s March was a great success, with women from all parts of the country arriving in Pretoria to support the protest. Thousands more were represented in the signatures on the pile of petitions that were handed over. Estimates of the number of women delegates ranged from 10 000 to 20 000.
A line from a song composed for the occasion became a slogan for the campaign: ‘Strijdom, Wathinti’abafazi, wathinti’imbokodo.’ (‘Strijdom you have tampered with the women, You have struck a rock.’)
Please join the District Six Museum on Thursday 9 August from 11h00 to 13h00, for its Women’s Day programme which will take place at its Homecoming Centre, 15 Buitenkant Street.
Tel: 021 466 7200 for more information.