National Women’s Day: April 7
National Women’s Day is celebrated as a public holiday in Mozambique
Aside from the International Women’s Day which is observed worldwide every March 8, Mozambique also has a National yearly celebration for their Women’s Day held each April 7th.
The yearly celebration of National Women’s Day of the Mozambicans was intended to honor one of the most significant women of Mozambique, Josina Machel. It is also a day for the people to pay tribute to the women and their contribution to the country through their campaign for human rights and fair treatment between the men and women.
History of National Women’s Day in Mozambique
Josina Machel was one the many who played a significant role in the history of Mozambique during the Portuguese regime. Machel was among the volunteers who were designated to serve at the Liberation Front of Mozambique or FRELIMO to fight for the national independence. She worked as an assistant director at the Mozambique Institute in Tanzania. Because of her dedication to serving the country, Machel even refused to accept an outstanding offer to be a scholar at a premier university in Switzerland. Instead, she chose to remain as a volunteer for FRELIMO’s Women’s Branch which aimed to offer military training to women and have them equipped and prepared for a military struggle.
She was among the few chosen women who underwent military training at Nachingweya in Cabo Delgado. And during the peak of 1968, she was assigned as the head of the Women’s Section under the International Relations Department of FRELIMO which was only at her early 20′s by then. Shortly after that, she became the head of the Department of Social Affairs of FRELIMO and held several projects and programs concerning the children and the women.
And on the tragic year of 1970, Josina Machel was diagnosed with liver cancer. She went to Moscow for just a short period of time of treatment and quickly went back to her country to fulfill her obligations in the FRELIMO. She suffered much stress and pain because of her illness and became very weak. On April 7, 1971 while she was at the Muhimbili Hospital, Josina Machel died at the age of 25.
On the anniversary of her death, FRELIMO officially announced that April 7 will be a National Day for Women in Mozambique in special remembrance to Josina Machel. On March 1973, The FRELIMO, which was inspired by Josina Machel and her campaign for human rights, established the National Organization of Mozambican Women which aims to protect the social rights of the Mozambican Women. This inspiration left by Machel later on led to the Mozambican independence on 1975.
National Women’s Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Every year on April 7, the Mozambicans gather in many different parts of the country to hold several programs and activities to pay tribute to their national heroine Josina Machel.
The day indication as well for the people to celebrate and rejoice for their country’s achievements and accomplishments. Despite the many catastrophes and disasters that country went through in the past, the people still continue to stay positive and proud for their nationality and for their country.