Standing on Their Shoulders

On 9 Aug 1956, 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in South Africa in protest against the dompas, challenging post-liberation relegation. Standing on Their Shoulders powerfully highlights ongoing resistance against oppression and pays tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Screenings – CT
BerthaMFri 23 June 3pm
Screenings – JHB
GIFri 30 June 2.30pm+ Q&A


Xoliswa Sithole


South Africa



Running Time:

68 min


isiZulu, English

On 9 August 1956, 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the dompas led by Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Motlalepula Chabaku, Bertha Gxowa and Albertina Sisulu. Sithole’s film is a ribbon that connects female activists over time in a breath-taking composite of female resistance. It challenges the erasure of these powerful women who paved the way to liberation and who, post liberation, were sadly relegated to the old roles of wives, mothers and daughters of struggle heroes. The story of the ANC and our liberation was, ultimately, to be determined by men. Thoughtful interviews with feminist activists, scholars and political leaders shine a torch on the work at hand for a new generation of women who are mobilising to fight race, class and gender oppression in a renewed age of patriarchal and capitalist violence. A more fitting farewell to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela would be difficult to find.

Courtesy of the Director