Happy birthday, Helen Joseph!
In recognition of her 116th birthday celebration, the present Doodle observes English-born, South African activist, Helen Joseph. A leading figure of white dissent of the unjust practice of apartheid, Joseph is generally viewed as one of South Africa’s most influential freedom fighters and women’s rights advocates.
Born on this day in 1905, Joseph spent her initial years living in London. She completed a degree in English at King’s College London in 1927, and later settled in Durban, South Africa.
Apartheid laws, which were established in 1948, isolated South Africa along racial lines and stretched out to many facets of daily life. In 1951, Joseph took a situation with the Garment Workers Union where she met Solly Sachs, who educated Joseph on South Africa’s political landscape and the realities of apartheid.
Joseph before long turned into an founding member from the Congress of Democrats (COD), a white political partner of the African National Congress (ANC), and on August 9, 1956, Joseph co-led a march of 20,000 women with the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) on Pretoria’s Union Buildings.
Joseph’s fearless opposition resulted in government-led to silence her but despite the backlash, Joseph stayed active, taking in the children of exiled or imprisoned political activists, including Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s children.
Helen Joseph confronted harsh repercussions for her actions, but, she persisted. Her deep rooted battle to join individuals of South Africa was recognized by the ANC in 1992 with the Isitwalandwe/Seaparankwe Award. Out of honor of the historic women’s march on Pretoria and the faithful support of ladies like Helen Joseph, August 9 was remembered yearly as Women’s Day in South Africa.