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The Human Rights Day South Africa is celebrated every year on the March, 21st. This day was affirmed as a public holiday following the inauguration of the late president Nelson Mandela in 1994. But, what is Human Rights Day in South Africa and what facts surround this day?

Here are amazing facts about this special day, as well as Human Rights Day pictures that answer this question as well as others.

One Monday on March 21st, 1960, a group of about 5000 to 7000 protesters gathered at the Sharpeville police station with the aim of protesting the pass laws.

These laws required black people to carry passbooks (also referred to as Dompas) at all times and show it to any police officer when requested. So, on this fateful day, all the black people agreed to show up without their passbook in what seemed like a peaceful protest.

During the protest at Sharpeville, the police, without being given any official orders, decided to open fire on the protesters, killing 69 and maiming/wounding 180 others. Various sources were at loggerheads on the behavior of the crowd during that day.

Some sources claimed that that the shooting began when the protesters hurled stones at the police officers, while other sources state that the crowd was peaceful.

The Sharpeville Bloodbath became the biggest single massacre of black individuals during the apartheid regime of the National Party. Even though it took South Africa nearly 3 decades before Apartheid was permanently abolished, the events of Sharpeville became pivotal in the fight for freedom for most South Africans.

Ian Berry was one of the photographers of the Massacre and with Humphrey Tyler from the Drum, they recount that, at first, they thought the police were only firing blanks to disperse the crowds.

Here are some of the Sharpeville massacre pictures as obtained from Twitter.


What was Human Rights Day called before?

Human Rights Day was also referred to as Sharpeville Day because it remembers the 69 who were murdered and 180 who were injured while fighting for their human rights in 1960.

Additionally, this special day commemorates anti-apartheid activists like Steve Biko and Olive Tambo that fought and died for the country’s democracy. 8. South Africa’s Human Rights Day coincides with the UN International Day for the elimination of racism

The fate of the leader of the anti-pass law movement After the events at Sharpeville, Sobukwe was imprisoned on Robben Island. He was later released and expelled to Kimberley where he died in 1970 after being diagnosed with cancer.

When did human rights start in South Africa? The 26-year struggle from March 21st, 1960 culminated the end of Apartheid in 1986. As a result, March 21st came to be Human Rights Day as it was the day when black South Africans became aggressive of their rights. Immediately after the Sharpeville Massacre, Hendricks was prompted to ban ANC and PAC.

How is Human Rights Day celebrated in South Africa today?

There are various ways to mark this date. South Africans can travel with their loved ones if the day falls on a Friday, they can go eat meals at their favourite restaurants, watch a movie, visit a library, tour a wine field among other activities.