New generation in the dark about black history
Nine out of 10 children quizzed by Times Media at the Sharpeville Memorial Centre had no idea who struggle icon Robert Sobukwe was.
Sobukwe‚ who was a leader of the Pan-Africanist Congress‚ led the 21 March 1960 anti-pass laws protest which resulted in the massacre of 69 people in Sharpeville.
The children‚ many of whom were dressed in political party regalia said they had never heard of the stalwart before.
Some of them gathered alongside their parents‚ and watched an exhibition of pictures of the Sharpeville Massacre‚ 2012 Marikana shootings and other violent protests around South Africa.
Art exhibitor Thandolwethu Sepoi’s stand showed black people being chained and assaulted by white people.
He told Times Media he was inspired to display these images when he noted that black children were not being educated about the true origins of oppression.
“Our education system is euro-centric‚” Sepoi said.
“It promotes white supremacy.”
He said it was difficult to celebrate Human Rights Day when many people failed to comprehend that the apartheid government‚ and even some of those in power failed to acknowledge black people as human beings.
“That is why the likes of Penny Sparrow can compare us to monkeys‚” Sepoi said.
Sparrow caused outrage in 2016 after her Facebook post where she wrote: “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on to public beaches towns etc obviously have no education whatsoever.”
The post went viral and Sparrow was charged.
The Umzinto Equality Court found her guilty of hate speech.
Last week‚ the Democratic Alliance’s Helen Zille came under fire for comments she made on colonialism.
She took to Twitter where she said people who claimed the legacy of colonialism was only negative should think “of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water etc”.
“Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest‚ please‚” she wrote in a second tweet.
“Helen Zille herself is misguided. It’s either that or she believes her lies because colonialism disrupted African development‚” Sepoi told Times Media.
A crowd who had gathered around him expressed agreement.
Earlier‚ DA leader Mmusi Maimane distanced the party from Zille’s views.
“I stand here today and say those are not the views of the Democratic Alliance...” Maimane said.
“Our vision and our project has always been to say that out of the ashes of apartheid‚ a free South Africa will come forth‚ a non-racial society‚” he added.
Sharpeville was abuzz with activity on Tuesday as thousands of people descended on the township to mark the 57th year since the deadly uprising against the pass laws.
The crowd was dressed in t-shirts from different political parties.
Political parties took turns placing wreaths at the memorial site.
The uniform message from the parties was that those who were killed in the massacre cannot have died in vain.