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Significance of 'Sharpeville Day'

By unknown | Mar 17, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

ON March 21 1960, Mangaliso Sobukwe led a march to Orlando police station while in Sharpeville people marched to the local police station. It was an event that marked the change in South African history.

The Pan Africanist Congress was about a year old.

The marches were a demonstration against apartheid pass laws.

When the Sharpeville police saw the masses they panicked and opened fire, killing 69 and injuring hundreds more.

These are the details that the historians will relate. The real story is a more complex mixture of pain and courage that is best left to izimbongi - the African epic poets - to tell.

An outraged international community immediately turned against the National Party government. The struggle had reached a new level on the long road towards the democratic elections in 1994.

"Sharpeville Day" is having its 50th anniversary this month. During apartheid we could always feel the effect of that fateful day - but now silence greets this historic moment.

Is it because it does not belong to the ruling party?

I for my part don't have any strong feelings for their Human Rights Day.

The term Sharpeville Day is more significant because the apartheid government began to ban political organisations opposed to them, thereby ultimately weakening themselves.

The point is we don't give Sharpeville Day the recognition it deserves.

Thulani ka SkhosanaBenoni


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