Attempts to force women to carry passbooks in 1910, and again during the 1950s, met with widespread protest. On 28 May 1913, a group of 200 women marched on the town hall of Bloemfontein to show their resistance to the British pass system. When they realised that they would not be heard they defiantly burnt their passes outside the police station. Eighty women were arrested.
They refused to admit guilt by paying fines, and were imprisoned. The poorly resourced jail could not hold the number of women arrested, so they had to serve their prison sentences in relays.