According to UP history lecturer Karina Sevenhuysen of the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies, the historical significance of the 1956 march can be found in its representation of women’s strength and courage in South Africa. In the 1950s women were perceived in a stereotypical manner, a stereotype which was overturned by their ability to successfully stage an immensely significant protest against the apartheid regime.

Today, the struggle song sung at the historic march has evolved into a phrase that resonates throughout South Africa: “You strike a woman, you strike a rock.” The role that women have played in both the struggle against apartheid and the subsequent rebuilding of a nation is a very significant one. More than just a protest, the groundbreaking march of 1956 brought to the forefront the presence of women in the most important sphere of the apartheid era: the anti-apartheid movement.

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