Women’s Day today is about celebrating the achievements of women in fields that they were previously excluded from, that’s the message President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was speaking at the Women’s Day celebrations in Paarl.

The President says it is concerning that the face of poverty and suffering is still worn by the women in South Africa, pointing to discrimination of women, unemployment and landlessness. “Women are overlooked by businesses.”

Ramaphosa also called for an end to violence against women and children. “We men must get it into our heads that we do not own women and their bodies and cannot dominate them.”

He says people of South Africa need to work together to build a non sexist South Africa. “This will have to start with an admission that a war has been waged against women. Women are are subjected to violence. Women are abused by just the virtue of being women.”

Violence against women is a societal issue that needs all society to work together to address, the President stated.

“The focus should also be on how the boy child is raised.”

A small group of protesters briefly disrupted the event, just before President Cyril Ramaphosa can address the crowd. The group of mostly women held up placards calling for an end to farm evictions.

They were ushered out and addressed by Rural Development and Land Reform minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who undertook to attend to their matters.