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Women forward!

Icons on the international stage

George W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher hear the truth!

MaSisulu (Albertina) Sisulu received a personal invitation from George W. Bush to meet at the White House. This invitation was a major breakthrough for the Democratic Movement for two reasons:

  1. This was the first invitation ever extended to the Democratic Movement to visit the White House.
  2. The invitation was extended to a leading woman within the democratic movement, which is a real boost for the women's movement.

The objective
Ultimately, the major objectives of the trip were fulfilled. In their meetings with Bush and Thatcher, human rights issues were highlighted. Some of the myths and confusions around the whole issue of mandatory sanctions were clarified, as well as our position on negotiations and the necessary pre-conditions for such a process.

We can say with confidence that the trip undertaken by Mama and her delegation can only serve to strenghthen the mass democratic movement. We can be assured that they truly echoed all our voices to the international community.

We salute Mama and her delegation for fulfilling such a mammoth task with such great success.

- FEDSAW newsletter, 1989.


Exhibitions in the classroom

Reading the past 

SOURCE: ‘Bush and Thatcher hear the truth!’, árticle from FEDTRAW pamphlet ‘Women’s Day Today, is Freedom Day Tomorrow’, 1989.

Read the article and then answer the questions.

1. Why was it important for the women of South Africa to be recognised by Bush and Thatcher?

2. What did this delegation of women achieve?

Learning more

To learn more about how international pressure played a role in ending the apartheid regime, consult ‘Resistance in the 1980s - international pressure’ booklet in the SAHA in the Classroom series that uses primary sources to explore South African history 1976 - 1994 


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