Freedom Charter, Women's Charter, Memories, and (Un)freedoms


  • Kogielam Keerthi Archary Oral History Association of South Africa. 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation. Independent researcher



freedom, liberation struggle, education management, economic, legal, Women's Charter


More than 60 years ago, South African women declared their aim of striving for the removal of all laws, regulations, conventions and customs that discriminated against women and that deprived them in any way of their inherent right to the advantages, responsibilities and opportunities that society offered to any one section of the population. Women do not form a society separate from men. There is only one society, and it is made up of both women and men. Against this backdrop, after 60 years, and with a Women’s Charter and Freedom Charter in place, there are many issues that still need to be addressed, highlighted and referred to. On the agenda is the investigation of unresolved women’s issues so as to pave the way for emancipation from the (un)freedoms that still prevail. On August 9, 1956, more than 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the extension of women’s pass laws. This march, organised by the Federation of South African Women, has been recorded as one of the largest demonstrations staged in this country’s history. Women have played an important role in building a better South Africa. They should be protected against abuse, violence and discrimination, and they must be valued and respected in order to uphold the vision of building a non-racist, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. Against this background, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Women’s Charter and 25 years of freedom indicates that change should have taken place over the last six decades. However, the liberation, education and management of South African women within the paradigm of political, legal, economic and social challenges need to be investigated and documented.