Her Excellency, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile will present the 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 9 August, 2014.

This event marks the 52nd anniversary of Mr Mandela’s capture on 5 August 1962, a milestone in Mandela’s journey towards the achievement of democratic freedom in South Africa.

The lecture will be held at the historic City Hall in the City of Cape Town, a significant and poignant venue, as it is from this location that Mr Mandela gave his inaugural address to the people of South Africa after being released from prison in 1990.
The theme of the 2014 lecture is Building social cohesion through active citizenship, a topic that can be distilled into the sub-themes of: education for participation, democratic co-operation through the notion of community and, identity and alienation with a specific focus on youth.

The date of the lecture, 9 August, has further importance as it is National Women’s Day in South Africa and marks the anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to Pretoria. In one of the largest demonstrations staged in this country’s history, 20 000 women of all races marched to Pretoria’s Union Buildings to present a petition against the carrying of passes by women to the then Prime Minister, J G Strijdom. The Federation of South African Women famously challenged the idea that ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’, declaring it instead to be ‘everywhere’.

Although Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom was not at the Union Buildings to accept the petition, the women of South Africa sent a public message that they would not be intimidated and silenced by unjust laws.

Since this day, the phrase ‘wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’ (you strike a woman, you strike a rock) has come to represent the courage and strength of South African women.

Friday 25 July 2014 15:54