Wed Oct 26 13:43:32 CAT 2016
 UCT students burning artworks Picture Credit: SAcrimefighters ‏@SAcrimefighters
‘UCT is burning’

The University of Cape Town on Tuesday morning confirmed reports that “four cars were set alight at .

'We didn't know we would die'

By unknown | Mar 20, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Margaret Salanyane was only five at the time of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.

Margaret Salanyane was only five at the time of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.

But she still remembers the sound of aeroplanes overhead the day her mother was shot.

Last Friday she joined about 55 family members and survivors at the local cemetery to clean up the graves sites of those who died trying to change the pass laws of apartheid South Africa.

Each year, ahead of Human Rights Day, previously called Sharpeville Day, they return to clean the overgrown graves.

On March 21 1960, 69 people were killed and about 300 injured in the township when police opened fire on a crowd who had gathered to protest against the pass laws.

Spokesman for the Gauteng department of sport, recreation, arts and culture, Nomazwe Ntlokwana, said the grave cleaning was part of a campaign to create awareness about and commemorate Human Rights Day.

"It's an opportunity to involve the community and survivors.

"We all need to ensure that the atrocities that took place in 1960 don't occur again," she said.

When Salanyane and her younger sister Miriam were older, they were told by family members about the day their mother died.

"The marchers were told they'd have an answer by 2pm, but by 2pm they were being shot."

Alina Mkwanazi was one of the protestors who gathered that day, and escaped being shot. She was 18 at the time.

"If not for the grace of our Lord, my grave would be here with our heroes. We came to protest. We didn't know we were going to die."

Mkwanazi used a spade and her hands to clear away the dry grass that had grown over the edges of Gilbert Manyane's grave, where the stone marker records that he died at the age of 18.

Like the other gravestones commemorating those who died, Manyane's is granite with simply his name, age and date of death.

Johannes Modise was beaten unconscious by police and soldiers over his pass card the night before the march.

He said the amount of blood he saw after the shooting was like "rainfall".

Modise suffered a severe head injury and needed surgery after his assault .

"The old man, Mandela, says we must forgive them.

" I understand that, but when I see where I had an operation after being beaten with irons, I will never forget," Modise said.

At 2pm the group sang Reyeo Boka Morena, Sesotho for we thank you, God.

Pointing to the graves, Reverend Gift Moerane from the South African Council of Churches said: "They liberated our country. Because of these people the whole world recognised apartheid."

Salanyane said the sacrifices made by her mother and other Sharpeville victims meant peace for later generations.

"They were all forgotten. Since 1994 they are remembered," she said. - Sapa


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT