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“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” – Nelson Mandela


Workers’ Day in South Africa has been officially recognised and observed since the first democratic elections in 1994. It holds its own cultural significance, as the public holiday has come to signify not only the sacrifices made on the long road toward fair employment standards, but also the bitter battle against Apartheid in which trade and labour unions played a key role. Because South Africa’s working classes were those most oppressed by Apartheid, the struggle for better working conditions and the struggle to overthrow systemic segregation became intricately linked. The holiday serves both as a celebration of workers’ rights and as a reminder of the critical role that trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour organisations played in the fight against Apartheid.

The day is used to honour the contribution of working-class men and women across the globe. It is a public holiday in South Africa, which originated with the historical struggles of workers and trade unions.

Known as International Workers’ Day (also as May Day), the holiday is widely celebrated, with as many as 80 countries honouring the date and what it stands for.

Let us continue to honour, respect and love our workers, co-workers and friends. Remember, it is in your hands to make a difference.