Rural Women\’s Assembly

Freedom Day  Media Statement

On 27 April 1994, millions of South Africans voted in the country’s first democratic elections which is now commemorated as Freedom Day.  It is a day when South Africa was meant to be set free from the dispossession and anguish that occurred as a result of colonialism and oppression. After 28 years of democracy, we should be celebrating equal rights and justice for all. Unfortunately for many rural women, there is too little to celebrate. 

The Rural Women’s Assembly believes that improving the lives of rural women is key to fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality. Rural women still face discrimination when it comes to land and livestock ownership, equal pay, participation in decision-making entities, and access to markets. Women must be given land and access to water.  The empowerment of women and the establishment of gender equality is crucial for a healthy democracy. Women’s rights are human rights. It is tragic that after so many years of democracy, the rights of women are still restricted.

It is impossible to celebrate freedom when so many women are being killed, raped and abused. Women often live in fear in their own homes and can find it hard to leave violent relationships if they are financially dependent on their abusers. Rural women want to experience real freedom and to fully participate in our democracy.  Rural women have shown our leadership and capabilities in our own backyards by planting crops and taking care of our livestock. We clean up deserted areas in our communities to make space for small scale farming in an effort to be independent and free. We show so much initiative yet it seems like it is still not enough for our demands to be heard.

Access to land and water is key to fixing most of the problems facing rural women. Since 2016, the Rural Women’s Assembly has been demanding land and water for financially independence, providing for our families and freedom from our abusers. We are not asking for much and speak in one voice calling for, “ONE WOMAN, ONE HECTARE!”

We won’t be silenced until our demands are heard. Our voices and demands will only grow stronger. Rural women in South Africa played an important role during the fight for our democracy and it’s time we receive what is rightfully ours.  The time is now to claim our freedom.

Let’s continue speaking in one voice. “ONE WOMAN,ONE HECTARE = FREEDOM FOR WOMEN”.


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