Ilitha Labantu founder Mandisa Monakali, in partnership with the Republic of South African Consulate General, hosted a reception at the Kalahari Gallery for Her Excellency Bathabile Dlamini, honorable Minister of Social Development for the Republic of South Africa. The minister dialogued with the Brooklyn crowd, discussing the progress and challenges that women face and winning strategies to shift the paradigm. She was particularly insightful on the importance of women working to keep fathers involved in their children’s lives.

The minister invited New Yorkers interested in the international struggle for women’s rights to come to South Africa and celebrate the anniversary of the 1956 march that coincides with National Women’s Day. The celebration has its somber aspects because in 1956, the protestors were risking their lives and limbs to make their sentiments known. But don’t be mistaken; it will be a joyous occasion because South Africans know how to party.

Concerned Cultural Women’s Collective founder Kali Ndoye is leading a contingent of activists, supporters and lovers of South Africa to South Africa for the Aug. 9, 2016, National Women’s Day commemoration of the 1956 day that 20,000 women staged one of the largest demonstrations during the South African freedom struggle. These women marched and petitioned against legislation that required Africans to carry a “pass.” The pass was a special identification document that curtailed an African’s freedom of movement during the Apartheid era.

Ilitha Labantu is expanding its scope and bringing its unique style of advocacy and support for women who experience gender-based violence and families who are marred by domestic violence to Brooklyn. In collaboration with Bed-Stuy’s Long Life Information and Referral Network, Ilitha Labantu is launching its Brooklyn office in the Bed-Stuy Multi Service Center at 1958 Fulton St., Suite 300, Brooklyn, N.Y. To receive information and support or to work within the international circle to protect women against abuse, violence and discrimination, contact Ilitha Labantu at 718-778-0009, ext. 24, or email mandisa@iafrica.com.

If you wish to join Ilitha Labantu in South Africa this August and show solidarity with South Africans as they push forward toward a non-racial, non-sexist society, request information from aweusi@gmail.com.