Rebel women honoured

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

They might have paid with their lives for disrespecting King Cetshwayo by defying his order to marry into the iNdlondlo regiment in 1876, but yesterday they were honoured by the KwaZulu-Natal government for standing their ground. In refusing to marry into the iNdlondlo regiment 131 years ago, the women of Ingcugce Regiment stood up against a long-held tradition that, after war, decommissioned regiments be married en masse.

For this defiance, they paid the ultimate price of death.

Speaking in Pietermaritzburg yesterday MEC for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Weziwe Thusi, said the commemoration was part of a long programme which aims to show that women in the province had long been making waves in transforming traditions. "The liberation of women in South Africa, which is today enshrined in the constitution, is a long journey in which African women have been leaders and not just beneficiaries" she said.

Nana Ngobese, head of the programme, said the campaign would be used as a foundation to educate women about their rights.

"As part of the commemoration, the provincial gender machinery will embark on a gender awareness bus campaign that will include door-to-door visits," she said.