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|Leiden University catalogue
|Why Women Rebel: A Comparative Study of South African Women's Resistance in Bloemfontein (1913) and Johannesburg (1958)
|Wells, Julia C.
|Journal of Southern African Studies
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
|When the South African government began issuing passes to African women in 1956, the ensuing resistance campaign focused on the theme of insult to female dignity and motherhood. The women's fear of arbitrary arrest by physically abusive policemen in search of the new identity documents fuelled an unprecedented surge of popular protests and demonstrations. Although quite widespread, the resistance of the fifties was not uniform. Its intensity varied considerably from place to place and time to time. Certain types of women were more active than others and some did not take part at all. Why? Clearly certain women felt there was much more at stake than simply the dignity of womanhood. Further, if passes alone did not consistently provoke resistance, then what made the women's response so much more militant than men's? To answer these questions the author examines the motives and the circumstances of two particular case studies of women's anti-pass resistance: the Bloemfontein 1913 campaign and the Johannesburg women's passive resistance of October 1958. Notes.