August is women’s month in South Africa and is dedicated to remembering the unwavering courage and strength of South African women.
This is a very special month as it pays tribute to 20 000 women who made history in 1956, by standing up against injustice and oppression, not only for women, but for everyone in the country.
Celebrating Women’s Month in South Africa
On August 9th 1956, 20 000 women in South Africa played a pivotal role in our country’s history by marching to parliament and protesting in absolute silence against internal passport laws.
Pass laws played a monumental role in maintaining segregation of the population and the denial of fundamental human rights.
On that day, 14 000 petitions were left at the office doors of the prime minister as the women stood in silence for 30 minutes.
They ended their protest by singing a song that was written especially for the occasion. The song’s message was that if you strike a woman, you strike a rock.
Today, we use women’s month in South Africa to bring light to urgent issues that African women are still facing when it comes to our rights.
However, we also use this month to celebrate women, to uplift them and honour them for the important role they play in our society.
Women Who Inspire Me
Therefore, I would like to dedicate this article to 4 women from all walks of like who have been a constant inspiration to me, throughout my life as a woman, mother, grandmother and female artist in South Africa.
Thuli Madonsela is a South African advocate and Professor of Law who has also held a position in social justice at Stellenbosch University since 2018.
But, to me, what is more important than her qualifications is her courage to stand up against corruption in a male dominated government and society.
Thuli Madonsela was part of the anti-apartheid organisation but has since turned down many nominations to represent the ANC in post-apartheid years.
Amidst her demanding role as a public protector, she is also a single mother of two children and has won many awards in honour of her integrity and commitment to truth. In 2014 she was named Woman of Courage in Glamour’s Women of the Year awards.
Thuli Madonsela inspires me to be brave and to stand up against injustice in the name of truth. She is proof that women are peacemakers and have a strong faith in the future of our country.
Frida Kahlo is known as one of Mexico’s greatest artists who had a special interest in painting brilliant self-portraits.
As an artist, she focused much of her work on exploring questions of gender, class, race and identity in the Mexican society.
Frida didn’t have an easy life. She developed polio at a young age which caused permanent damage to her body and at the age of 18 she suffered serious injuries when she was involved in a terrible bus accident.
In addition, and later on in her life, she married the love of her life who went on to have many affairs throughout their marriage.
The time she spent in bed recovering from her injuries was when she developed her love for painting.
She mostly painted self-portraits as well as portraits of her family members, using bold colours and themes from nature in most of them. This is where I drew much of my artistic inspiration from.
Apart from her whimsical art and exceptional talent, Frida also played an active role in a post-revolutionary movement in Mexico which aimed to revive the indigenous philosophy, religion and traditions of the Aztec and integrate these into modern Mexico.
Frida has always inspired me through her very honest art. She has always expressed her truest feelings in her paintings which were mostly of physical and emotional pain.
“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to” is something she said that really resonates with me.
Georgia O’Keeffe is best known for her paintings of flowers and desert landscapes. As a young child, she demonstrated a particular interest in the natural world around her.
She also showed an interest in becoming an artist from an early age. Her mother saw this and sent her for art lessons with the local artist.
Georgia was always driven by her independent spirit and was known to dress and act differently than other students in her boarding school but was well-liked.
Throughout her life, Georgia also became ill several times and had to take some years off of her painting career.
She later on became known as the mother of modernism and became known for her ability to simplify and enlarge the beauty of a flower so that the fast-paced world would be compelled to slow down and look.
Georgia said: “I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”
Somaria is a South African woman who worked hard to reach her goals in life. She was a famous athlete, despite the fact that the sports industry was a male dominated world.
Regardless of her remarkable achievements, Somaria has always been down to earth and reminds us that we are all human.
I have always looked up to women like Somaria who are both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.
Somaria is now a retired grandmother who is still radiant and as lovely as ever, showing us that youth comes from the inside and has nothing to do with age.
Teresa Decinti – South African Female Artist
Women are the caregivers, the peacemakers and the nurturers of this world and it’s so important that we respect and honour them.
I believe that with a sturdy faith in God, we can stand together in unity against the evil forces that want to control the goodness of our hearts.
To all the women of South Africa, may we continue to grow in strength and may we learn to support and uplift one another so that we can rise above all the injustices of this world.
Visit the Teresa Decinti online art gallery to view all the paintings for sale which include the portraits of Thuli Madonsela, Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, among many other landscape paintings and portraits.
In addition, the Teresa Decinti art gallery in Stellenbosch is open to visitors and art enthusiasts.
Contact Teresa Decinti directly if you are interested in a custom piece such as the palette knife and oil painting of Somaria