Choma Queens: Women who shaped South African History
August is Women’s Month and usually a time when South Africans celebrate women from all over the world who have shaped their lives or who inspire them. This Women’s Month, I’m celebrating women who have shaped South Africa and helped change our history. Here are 5 women who should be celebrated for creating a legacy all women can be inspired by.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first female Deputy President in 2005 and she is known for her long history of fighting for women’s rights and education.
Between 1987 and 1989, she proudly served disadvantaged women in African Independent churches and informal settlements by running skills development and training programs to encourage economic freedom amongst women.
Choma, you might know the late mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela because her life is so well-documented. She was well-known for being the most controversial female activist during the apartheid era.
Despite being arrested many times, being isolated and banned and even having many turn against her, she continued to fight for SA’s freedom against the apartheid government and for the improvement of women’s rights.
The beautiful songstress, Miriam Makeba (aka Mama Africa) is another woman who was very outspoken and a visible opponent of the apartheid regime. She is not only one of the world’s most celebrated singers, she was also a celebrated civil rights activist.
She used her music to express herself and to create awareness internationally about the oppression that black people faced back in South Africa. She was banned from SA and forced to live in exile, meaning she was not allowed to be in South Africa, because of her fight against the injustice.
She eventually returned in the country after the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and continued with her good work through the Zenzile Miriam Makeba Foundation and the Miriam Makeba Rehabilitation Centre for abused young women.
Bertha Gxowa (often referred to as Mama Bertha) was an ANC (African National Congress) veteran who sacrificed 59 years of her life to helping make South Africa the free nation it is today. She was a part of so many big historical campaigns in our country, including the Women’s March that took place on the 9thof August 1956, dedicating herself to building a better SA for you and I.
Phyllis Ntantala-Jordan was a South African author and political activist who fought against the systematic oppression of women and people of colour. She was a black at a time when women’s rights were not recognised. Even though a lot of people were fighting for freedom and equality, the struggles of women of colour seemed disregarded and so Phyllis Ntantala-Jordan made sure she was the voice women of colour needed,
There are many more “sheroes” that have contributed towards South Africa’s women and those who continue to do so now (I’m sure you know a few in your community). Feminine power has helped shape the world that we live in today. These historical women dedicated their lives to fighting injustice and it is up to us to pick up where they left and carry their legacy to greater heights, in order for the future generation to prosper as well.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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