The 1956 women's march in South Africa. Leading women are, front from left, Sophie Williams, Raheema Moosa, Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoyi.

South Africa commemorates Women’s Day on Wednesday.

The day – August 9 – marks the anniversary of the massive women’s march 61 years ago in 1956, where women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the carrying of pass books.

More than 20 000 women marched to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government’s control over the movement of black women in urban areas.

According to SA History, neither Prime Minister JG Strijdom or any of his senior staff was there to see the women.

At activist Lilian Ngoyi’s suggestion, the crowd stood in absolute silence for a full half hour.

There were mixed feelings about the day and the challenges faced by South African women now.

Here's what social media users are saying about this year's celebrations:

The Mercury