THE BLACK SASH was a South African white women’s organisation formed in 1955. They stood on strategic streets wearing eye catching black sashes to stress and to indicate their opposition to the unjust laws of the apartheid government of the day, in particular the pass laws. The members of the organization also worked in their advice offices offering counseling on many difficulties some members of the population were suffering. With the end of apartheid from the early 1990s the organisation ceased but was reformed in 1995 as a non racial organisation.
On the 11 January 1990 when the soon to be president, Nelson Mandela, walked onto the balcony of the City Hall, Cape Town, the BLACK SASH was one of the many individuals and organisation he thanked for campaigning for his release from prison. He referred to the members of the Black Sash as women who had “ long been a voice of conscience.”