Human Rights Month is commemorated in March to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa. The democratic government declared 21 March Human Rights Day to commemorate and honour those who fought for our liberation and the rights we enjoy today.
This year’s commemoration of Human Rights Month coincides with the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the constitution. The Constitution enshrines the rights of all people in South Africa and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
Launched under the theme, ‘The Year of Unity and Renewal: Protecting and Preserving our Human Rights Gains’, this month’s commemorations will also be used to assess the progress of the nation’s constitutional democratic project.
Our Constitution is hailed as one of the most progressive in the world. The Constitution is the ultimate protector of our Human Rights, which were previously denied to the majority of our people under Apartheid. We commemorate Human Rights Day to reinforce our commitment to the Bill of Rights as enshrined in our Constitution.
Human Rights Day in South Africa is historically linked with 21 March 1960, and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights. It became an iconic date in our country’s history that today we commemorate as Human Rights Day as a reminder of our rights and the cost paid for our treasured human rights.
The NHC has partnered with the Sharpeville Foundation to commemorate the harrowing events of the Sharpeville massacre under the theme: The Year of Unity and Renewal – Letsema leema ka beng balona. Below is the line-up of activities to commemorate Human Rights Month:
The dialogue seeks to speak the truth about what happened on that fateful day. It will express views about what the people really lost over and above the innocent lives that perished. In the end we will all understand that, it is in our unity where our redemption lies.
Day One: Sunday, 20 March 2022– Intergeneration Dialogue –
Time: 11h00 – 15h00
Venue: Rhoda Yende Hall, 9169 Seeiso Street, Vereeniging, 1932
Below are the panelist for the Dialogue:
- Mme Lebohang Liepollo Pheko : She an activist scholar, public intellectual,
- international movement builder and Afrikan feminist theoretician.
- Mocholoko Zulumathabo Zulu : a Doctoral Traditional practitioner; Author of 8
published African indigenous books, a metaphysical scientist; a cosmologist; a technological inventor and a software engineer
- Nomsa Mazwai : Musician, Activist and Visionary
- Khwezi Mpumlwana : NHC Speaker
- Ndivhoniswani Lukwareni – NHC CEO: Special Guest
To attend the dialogue, you are required to register on Zoom, click here to register: https://zoom.us/j/92346567219?pwd=eXdpeWlVRFd6dG1SUGpLOXhKRkd3UT09
Sunday, 20 March 2022 – Sharpeville Massacre Night Vigil
The night vigil is a re-enactment of the event that took place in Sharpeville on the eve of the
massacre. In 1960 on the 20th March, activists and community members gathered at the
stadium to prepare for their confrontation with the apartheid beast. On the 20th March in the
evening, there will be a gathering at the massacre site to remember those that were
intentional about this resistance campaign. We remember their Unity of purpose.
Date: Sunday, 20 March 2022
Time: 23h30 – 04h30am
Venue: Rhoda Yende Hall, 9169 Seeiso St, Sharpeville, Vereeniging, 1933
Day Two – Monday, 21 March 2022 – Sharpeville Massacre Spiritual Walk
MaMnguni; a survivor of the massacre says that after the shooting, a dark rain cloud formed
over Sharpeville and it immediately started raining. The people of Sharpeville believed that
the rain was meant to cleanse the blood. Some even swear that the blood was washed down
to the bottom of the Dlomo Dam where the spirit of the victim’s rests. The walk will follow
the trail of the blood from the massacre site to Dlomo dam.
Theme: The Year of unity and renewal – Letsema leema ka beng balona.
Date: 21st March 2022
Venue: Sharpeville Memorial Garden, 3847 Seeiso St, Sharpeville , Vereeniging, 1933