Bulelwa Basse. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – National Women’s Day marks the journey of a victorious spirit, incited by women who knew their worth. 

It's a day that South African history smiles upon the conviction of the women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956, against the pass laws, and whose collective voices changed the landscape of not only South Africa, but also the world.

This is why, this National Women’s Month, I call upon the spirit of these women in honour of their courageous contribution toward who we are as women today. We are able to use our voices to affirm our societal mandate as women in business, community developers, creatives, nurturers, disciplinarians, educators, spiritualists and leaders in our own league. 

We understand that the power of our voice lies not only in how often we use it, but also in choosing for it to be silent in spaces wherein we wish not to have it exploited. 

Herein lies the strength of our identity as women: knowing the depth of our word is our worth.

As a proud South African, I have embraced the stories of both young women whose aspirations run wild in the passion with which they wish to conquer the world, and the wisdom of age by women who've lived through timeless lessons.

Transferred from one generation to the next, they have enabled me to gain much perspective about the insurmountable beauty that resides within our country. I want to become a better woman, a better human being, by virtue of having listened to these voices.

We are not only an entity to be reckoned with, we are a force of nature that beckons us to serve a greater purpose. The women of 1956 understood this principle: it was not a power-struggle that they contracted themselves into, it was a matter of principle that moved them into action to do the right thing – a quality admirable enough to emulate.

We do not need to wait for a battlefield to ensue with conflict, before we realise how volatile the human condition is – otherwise, we just become a reactionary society.

What we need to be, are agents of transformation: to be the essence of the kind of society we hope to live in.

Having expressed all this: I continue to use my words to honour those who came before me. Who held, so daringly, a dream that is lived in the wake of today, where a generation like me is able to put pen to paper, expressing all to my heart’s content… celebrating our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and those they birth.

This is for the women of the world, whose treasure rests in the heart of Africa. This is for those who birthed me: Nobahle Priscilla Basse, Nobuntu Gqiba, Pamela Basse, Mandisa Basse… who moulded all the woman I am, and inspire me to become the woman all children of Africa can look up to as a sister from another mother – just as well as the women of the 1956 Women’s March are our mothers – even today: Amandla kuMama!

Bulelwa Basse is a published writer, performance poet and Brand South Africa: Play Your Part Initiative ambassador. She is the founder of Lyrical Base Project and Sisters In Solidarity South Africa.

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WOMEN are not only an entity to be reckoned with, they are a force of nature that beckons us to serve a greater purpose, says Bulelwa Basse, founder of Lyrical Base Project and Sisters in Solidarity South Africa.  I  Supplied