By: Natasha Archary
Mother of the Black Resistance
Known as the mother of the Black Resistance, Ma Ngoyi was instrumental in women’s liberation in South Africa. Driving around the streets of Durban, Johannesburg and Tshwane, one may come across a street named in her honour and a clinic in Diepkloof. A small dedication to a woman who fought for what she believed. For the handcuffs of an apartheid run country to be permanently removed from every person of colour.
Women in the country have a lot to thank Ma Ngoyi for, she was one of the women who led the march to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956. An activist who advocated for basic rights for all citizens, it was through her leadership and empathetic beliefs that thousands of women found their voice. Lilian Masediba Ngoyi, holding thousands of petitions in her her hands, was the one who knocked on the Prime Ministers door.
One of their concerns was the implications of Bantu Education, which was designed to keep children of colour in a life cycle of poverty and servitude. Ma Ngoyi was one of the female stelwarts, and ANC Women’s League President. She walked with Mandela on that long walk to freedom and she should not be forgotten.
Arrested on numerous occasions, it didn’t deter her from the end goal. Her sacrifice meant that we could live a better life, a life with no racial barriers and restrictions.
This song echoed through the streets en-route to the Union Buildings all those years ago, becoming an anthem of courage and strength for women throughout the country.
It’s time South Africans remembered the names of fallen struggle heroes or their legacy will forever be forgotten and their names, passed by on street poles with little meaning. We tend to remember the struggle icons who’s names have been eternalised internationally. The likes of O.R Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu to name a few, granted their role was pivotal in the free South Africa we now call home. Their walk to freedom was not of solitude and it’s important to pay homage to others who fought this great divide too.
This month we remember Former President, Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 this year. Since his passing, we’ve lost other struggle icons who shared his journey. Let us not forget what we had to endure. Let us not forget how far we still have to go.