Midweek relaxation as we celebrate Worker’s Day

Nothing is as refreshing as a midweek break, kicking off your shoes and unwinding from work. Spending time with family and friends, while shrugging off the responsibility of your regular schedule.

But why are scores of South Africans taking off from work today? What is the significance of Worker’s Day (also known as May Day)?

Worker’s Day celebrates the role played by Trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid. 

What many don’t know, the day also refers to various socialist and labour movement celebrations which are celebrated on May 1. Then there is the fact that the day was also born from the industrial struggle where people fought for an eight-hour workday.

During the 1700s and 1800s working 10-hour days was nothing unusual and this left people exhausted and with very little time for their families.

With scores of countries around the world celebrating the day, it has been unofficially celebrated in South Africa since the 1980s.

It is only after the democratic elections in 1994 that it was officially recognised as a public holiday. South Africa’s mining industry’s history and the development of strong Trade Unions and communist ideologies has largely determined the country’s labour history and the workers struggle.

As we take the time off from work and regather our thoughts, what does Worker’s Day mean to you? And how will you be spending the day? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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