Lilian Ngoyi, 1911-1980, was a leading figure in the African National Congress Women's League.
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9 August 2007
Today, 9 August 2007, marks National Women's Day with celebrations scheduled to take place in different parts of the country.
This day affords us an opportunity to reflect on the role that women - the fabric of our society - continue to play in building a democratic, prosperous and caring nation.
Their outstanding role in the struggle for justice and freedom is well documented and continues to be acknowledged the world over.
History will always be there to remind us of women's immense contribution to the freedom and democracy we enjoy today.
From the 1956 women's march, when about 20,000 women of all races and backgrounds marched on the Union Building, through decades of ceaseless struggle they have demonstrated their vital role in the liberation and transformation of our country.
Writing in ANC Today a short while ago, President Thabo Mbeki said: "Our democratic revolution - the NDR and therefore the ANC itself-has a continuous task to address the central issue of the emancipation of women.
"For us to achieve success in this regard, the women of our country must not serve merely as objects of history, unorganised and unseen beneficiaries of progressive change, but as subjects, conscious makers of history - their own liberators."
The President further said: "Acting in concert with the rest of our movement, the women of our country must help themselves and us to defeat the invisibility of women that constitutes a critical factor in the conspiracy of historical and current circumstances that make for gender oppression and discrimination.
"The fighting women of our country kept their word. Continuing to act in unity, and as a visible contingent of, and an integral part of the liberation movement, in time they saved the African women from the degradation of passes."
The ANC would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the government's efforts in prioritising women's emancipation through a range of measures, including affirming the place of women in key positions of responsibility in government.
The ANC-led government has put in place policies to ensure that women are recognised in the economy and throughout society as equal partners in all areas of human endeavour.
The ANC will continue to advocate the empowerment of women, particularly those who remain vulnerable to the ravages of poverty, disease and violence.
The ANC salutes the women of South Africa, and wishes all South Africans -men and women - a happy Women's Day!
Issued by African National Congress
For more information contact Smuts Ngonyama 082 994 2112