The historic house in Cradock where Olive Schreiner lived in her youth (Photo: iStock)
Thursday, 9 August is a public holiday of great importance. On this day South Africans get to spend a day reflecting on and acknowledging the strength, importance and central role women play in our history and society more generally.
Make some time for yourself to celebrate and cherish women by following our easy guide on how to get the most out of your holiday.
- Thursday 9 August is National Women's Day and the following day is a school holiday (not a public holiday). If you were to take off on 10 August you would bag yourself a 4-day break. That’s more than enough time to pamper yourself and the special women in your life.
- Alternatively, if you were to take leave from Monday 6 to Wednesday 8 August your 4 days of leave would net you a full 9 days of holiday time. Imagine all the love and appreciation you could shower on your sisters, aunts wives and mothers with 9 days of holiday.
And just like that you have turned a celebration of womankind into a holiday to spend pampering yourself or the wonderful women in your life.
Click here for a full list of creative ways to get the most out of the public holidays this year.
How to celebrate National Women's Day!
9 August 1956, a date which will live in the collective South African memory as the day in which the resolute steadfastness to the principals of freedom and equality were exemplified in the strength and courage of South African women. 20,000 women, of all races, on that day marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to present a petition against the carrying of passes by women to the then Prime Minister JG Strijdom. The women of South Africa, on that day, sent a loud, powerful message which is now immortalised in the statement that 'wathint' abafazi, wathint' imbokodo' (You strike a woman, you strike a rock).
To help you reflect and celebrate how far we've come, and acknowledge how much further we still need to go, we've decided to furnish you with this guide on how to boost your break and spend all that extra free time. You needn't use all your time pondering deeply on the atrocities of the past, and present - why not celebrate and treat yourself and the women in your life to a selection of great experiences.
- Relive the march and head to the seat of power at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
On this the 61st anniversary of the marches to the Union Buildings, consider taking the time out to retrace the steps of the masses of heroic South African women. Reflect on the lives and contributions to freedom and women's rights in this space that has for too long been dominated by powerful women. Head on over, take your sisters and daughters to the Union Buildings and remind them that they too have the power to change South Africa.
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- Hang out in Lilian Ngoyi Square:
See the Women's Living Heritage Monument and take a explore the Lilian Ngoyi Square and it's surrounds. See the life-size statues of iconic female freedom fighters such as Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams De Bruyn. Grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants nearby or just hang out and let your hair loose - today is your day.
SEE: 8 Things you should know about the solo female traveller
Olive Schreiner is another revered South African apartheid resistance figure. Famed for her literary contributions and intellectual stance in opposition to apartheid and the oppression of women - what better way to appreciate how far South African women have come than by revisiting history through the writings of Olive Schreiner. Her most popular novel, The Story of an African Farm, first published in 1883 dealt with independence and the aspirations of women among many other subjects. A lifelong advocate for gender equality, Olive Schreiner is a great historical figure for ALL South Africans to draw inspiration from.
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Jam out with the Queen of African pop, the Madonna of the Townships - MaBrrr. Celebrate this iconic South African's life and contributions by taking a selfie with the statue and taking a moment to reflect or just fill your playlist with some MaBrrr classics.
- Unwind, relax and find tranquility across SA:
Spend some time pampering yourself or the women in your life with a visit to one of the many great spas around the country. Be treated to a sensory-stimulating experience with a wide variety of treatments to get you relaxed and ready to conquer the world.
From the Magaliesberg in the North West to Thulamela in Mpumalanga, the country has loads of options for you to find a tranquil escape to make the most of your women's day break. Treat yourself queen!
SEE: #FindYourEscape: Luxury indulgence for a day in SA
- Toast it up with some great cocktails and champagne:
If drinking an embarassing amount of cocktails or sipping on an endless procession of flutes of champagne sounds like your thing - look no further. Get yourself some Bottomless Bubbly at HQ hosted by Pierre Jourdan Méthode Cap Classique, and toast up to the all the ladies! R100 gets you in on the complimentary bubbly action from 18:00 to 20:00. Book ahead by contacting HQ directly at email@example.com or 021 424 6373.
Yamatsuki will keep you flush with drinks at their regular buy-one-get-one-free special on gin cocktails and glasses of wine. If you're feeling peckish you're in luck as Yamatsuki is an multiple award-winning sushi joint with accolades including Zomato's Users' Choice 'super sushi' award and Trip Advisor's 2017 'Certificate of Excellence'. Enjoy!
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- Watch a play or a live performance:
The Joburg Theatre is playing host to the return of The Colour Purple the Musical to the South African stage. With jazz, ragtime, blues and gospel setting the mood for the performance, embark on an emotional journey that will leave you feeling uplifted.
- Enjoy the country’s public gardens:
In the light of South Africans celebrating every national symbol and significant SA features, why not head to Kirstenbosch to see to most magnificent display of our national flower (the protea) and tree (the yellowwood)?
You can also head to the equally impressive botanical gardens of Durban or Johannesburg, or the smaller ones in Betty’s Bay, Stellenbosch, or the beautiful ‘garden’ that is the south coast and sunshine coast as a whole!
SEE: #LoveSA: 11 Garden Route festivals perfect for long weekend escapes
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