Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf

Too many people have been denied basic human rights in our country. That applies to yesterday, today and – I’m sure – tomorrow.

In rural areas, progress is slower. No surprises there.

The moulds of history take longer to break. Girls grow up in a world where the very word “possibility” does not exist.

But our message on National Women’s Day is this: possibility does exist. It is curled up in small pockets – often hidden away – and is not nearly as potent as it should be, but it’s there.

Find those possibilities. Grab them with both hands.

And when you’ve made it. When you’ve broken the gates and the locks and you’ve created freedom for your mind, look back and ask:

“Where can I create a small pocket of possibility for someone else?”

Women’s Day in South Africa marks the day in 1956 that a crowd of more than 20 000 women marched against the iniquitous pass laws that restricted the movement of black people under Apartheid.

These brave women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against laws which forced non-white people to carry so-called “pass books”. The women sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion:

Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo!

Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.

The march, that day, did not change anything. But it planted a thought. It created another small pocket of possibility. A pocket of possibility that was to become part of great change.

We must treasure those small pockets of possibility.

Happy Women’s Day!