“Coming Home” – a collaborative event for National Women’s Day & International Indigenous Day

Please click HERE to register for a South African celebration of Worldwide Indigeneity.

On August 9th, 65 years ago, 20,000 women of all races and backgrounds, banded together in Pretoria and marched upon the Prime Minister’s office, leaving 14,000 petitions at his door. This was 1956. Their galvanising protest slogan “Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo!” rang out on the streets and into history. They were marching in defiance of the “Pass Laws”, yet another draconian measure to control black South Africans and further entrench apartheid. “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock” their song proclaimed (Later the chant became: You strike a woman! You strike a rock!). Their efforts and their message were not forgotten. In 1995, the first National Women’s Day was marked in their honour, a year after South Africa won her democratic freedom. Every year on this day, the nation remembers these extraordinary women and their resolution and seeks to shed light on the issues and injustices which women continue to face today. On August 9, 2021, we will be gathering together to imagine what the narrative of any nation might sound like if more of the voices heard were women’s; to discuss how we might continue to build on the rock of women’s love, courage, determination, and commitment to the common good.

In the same year as South Africa became a free democratic “Rainbow Nation”, in 1994, the United Nations declared August 9th to be the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. A time to consider how every one of us can help in protecting and lifting up indigenous rights, languages, traditions, sacred practices, and millennia of history. As the world of today grapples with its relationship with the past, with societal and political challenges, with environmental issues, perhaps never before has the wisdom of our indigenous brothers and sisters been so relevant, and so necessary. They are us, we are them. There is no separation. This is the spirit and essence of Ubuntu. And this is our intention as we mark this important day.

August 9, 2021 Event – “Coming Home” (12:00 noon – 14:00 SA time)
curated by Zebada January and Revs. Berry Behr, Nima Taylor, and Pippa Jones

Please click here to register and join with us as we dive deeply and beautifully into the questions that arise on this significant day; as we welcome the voices, the creativity, and the circumspection of all our distinguished guests; as we vision together for a future built on the rock of women and the wisdom of ages.

Our event – a hybrid of in-person and online – graciously hosted by the Cape Town Unitarian Church, will reflect the local, the national, the global. Our two-hour program will include ritual, song, language, and poetry, and will bring reflections on identity, trauma, healing, sacred activism, social justice, our relationship to Mother Earth and to all beings. Woven throughout will be the timeless and timely teachings of Women traditional elders from across the world: Maori, Australian Aboriginal, Native North American, and Khoi.

We warmly welcome you to pause and reflect with us. To celebrate this remarkable day in a remarkable way.

a woman can’t survive
by her own breath
she must know
the voices of mountains
she must recognize
the foreverness of blue sky
she must flow
with the elusive
of night wind woman
who will take her into
her own self
look at me
i am not a separate woman
i am a continuance
of blue sky
i am the throat
of the sandia mountains
a night wind woman
who burns
with every breath
she takes.

(“Fire” by Joy Harjo, Native American writer of the Muscogee Nation, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States)

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