INTRODUCTION: A commemoration meeting was held in Cape Town on Sunday (9 August) of the 25th anniversary of a march by 20,000 black women at Pretoria in 1956.
LAGNA, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA. (AUGUST 9, 1981) (REUTERS)
GV EXTERIOR St. Francis of Assisi Church 0.08
CU Badge for South African women's day 0.11
GV Man standing in doorway by poster for National Women's Day 0.14
SV INTERIOR Church people clapping and singing (2 shots) 0.27
GV (SOUNDBITE ENGLISH) Mrs. Albertina Sisulu talking (2 shots) 1.16 "For the seventeen years I have been shut up , those seventeen years have brought to me seventeen years nearer freedom.No open order, no house arrest, no death sentence ,no detention without trial will stop me from fighting against the unjust laws"
GV Crowds outside building at Crossroads 1.24
GV Poster showing change of venue of meeting PAN TO people 1.30
SV ZOOM OUT TO GV People lining-up then climbing into bus (2 shots) 1.45
GV Women singing on bus 1.56
GV Bus arriving 2.02
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A commemoration meeting was held in Cape Town on Sunday (9 August) of the 25th anniversary of a march by 20,000 black women at Pretoria in 1956. The organisers had to contend with some confusion, after the South African government intervened and forced a last-minute change of venue for the rally. Once the demonstrators were assembled at the Elsies River Cinema they heard speakers call on them to unite in the struggle for liberation.
SYNOPSIS: The first assembly point was St. Francis of Assisi Church. They adopted the slogan used during the 1956 march "You have tampered with the women, you have struck a rock".
The meeting was to have been held at the Crossroads Camp for the homeless but on the orders of the Minister of Co-operation and Development it was transferred.
The first speaker was Albertina Sisulu, wife of Walter Sisulu who is serving a life prison term. Mr. Sisulu was Secretary-General of the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC) when he was sent to jail. The ANC wants a non-racial society in co-operation with left-wing and liberal organisations. The movement was banned in 1960. Mrs. Sisulu, who has just served a 17-year ban, called on the women to take up arms and join their men. She also criticised the practice of house-arrest and detention without trial.
Many of the protestors had gathered at the Crossroads camp, unaware of the change of venue. Posters were placed there to advise them of the newly rally point.
Organisers of the National Women's Day rally arranged for buses to take the women to the cinema. The Crossroad' Committee said it had not disallowed the meeting to be held in the camp but suggested it be moved. The committee said it didn't want to jeopardise an agreement allowing the squatters to stay in Cape Town.
Uniformed police surrounds the Elsies River Cinema, but allowed the meeting to proceed.