As South Africans enjoy the public holiday today, Briefly.co.za shares some background on International Workers’ Day and how it became a global celebration.
Many South Africans are enjoying the festivities that come with a public holiday today.
However, it is interesting to note that it’s a holiday not exclusive to South Africa, but one that is celebrated in many countries across the world.
Workers' Day is also known as Labour Day in some countries and commonly referred to as May Day.
The day celebrates the working class and initially arose in commemoration of the Haymarket affair that took place on 4 May 1886 in Chicago, USA.
The peaceful protest stemmed from workers striking for an eight-hour work day, but it quickly turned violent.
Police officers gathered to disperse the crowd and a bomb was flung at them, killing seven cops and four civilians in the process.
Closer to home, the day also celebrates the key role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other movements in the struggle against Apartheid.
As the majority of South Africans suffered under Apartheid and battled for fair employment standards, the day is of extra significance in this country.
A strike was arranged by the Communist Party in 1950 to protest against the suppression of Communism Act.
The South African confirmed the deaths of 18 people throughout Soweto.
Mzansi officially declared it a public holiday since our first democratic elections in 1994.
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