Sites in Sharpeville to be declared heritage sites

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pretoria - Six sites in Sharpeville are to be declared heritage sites on Monday, as the country marks national Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day, commemorated on 21 March, is an annual event to remind South Africans of the suffering and loss of life that accompanied the struggle for human rights as well as to celebrate the country's Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

In observing the day, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane will declare the old Sharpeville Police Station, Phelinda and Vuka cemeteries, the local Roman Catholic Church, Sharpeville Memorial and Exhibition Centre and the Kwa Dlomo Dam as heritage sites.

Provincial MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Lebogang Maile said that as part of Gauteng and South Africa's legacy against apartheid, Sharpeville has become an important part in the history of provincial human rights programme. 

"The development of the heritage assets of Sharpeville and other related programmes are key in the preservation of the rich heritage of the area and for ensuring that the history of this day is not lost," said Maile.

Various activities have also been planned by local communities such as the cleaning of graves at Phelandaba Cemetery, a pre-night candle lighting event as well as a choral music festival.

During Human Rights Month, the province will focus on human dignity, heritage preservation and promoting the rights of emerging artists.

On Thursday the Pan African Craft Exhibition will be holding an exhibition which will showcase arts, poetry and craft from various artists from Africa. It will be opened for the duration of the month.

"The exhibition is one way that as a province we are promoting co-existing with our cultural diversity, it calls for all of us to appreciate each other's culture instead of seeing it as a dividing aspect of our existence," Maile said.