Political parties in rare show of unity
For the first time, the people of Sharpeville commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1960 massacre this year in unity.
The service was held at the Sharpeville cricket stadium on Human Rights Day and was attended by members of the ANC, UDM, DA, APC, ID and IFP.
Each of the political parties present were given two minutes to deliver speeches.
Maria Sithole of Randfontein said she was happy that the day was commemorated in unity.
"I am so glad about the way it was arranged because it was not all about the ANC or PAC. Iit was about Africans.
"Today we are under one umbrella with other parties for the commemoration. It is the first time in the history of Sharpeville where we met with the IFP, DA, UDM and others for the commemoration," Sithole said.
She said, however, that she was not impressed by the behaviour of some PAC members who, she said, were "uncontrollable".
Thandi Nhlapo of Sharpeville said she was happy that the ANC and PAC came together for the commemoration.
"We are happy because this year's commemoration was unique. These parties came together, unlike previously, where the PAC and ANC conducted their own events," Nhlapo said.
She added: "Other people failed to behave and I thought the PAC and ANC members were going to fight because some of them were wild."
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who was the main speaker, said the people had to take ownership of history both as various political organisations and members of society.
"By the same token, conscientious admirers of history must acknowledge the roles played by certain communities and political organisations on all sides of the political and ideological divide," he said.
He said various people had successfully mobilised communities to resist oppression.
"A common ownership of our history is the basis of nation building and must never be undermined by any interest group based on the subjectivity of race, class or ideology," he said.
Motlanthe dismissed the unruly behaviour by ANC and PAC members as insignificant.
"This is the first experience they are brought together," he said.
But PAC president Letlapa Mphahlele said that to them the day was still Sharpeville-Langa Day.
"It is also not a celebration. To us it is a journey down memory lane. It is a day of great sadness," he said.