South Africans remember Sharpeville heroes

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pretoria - Millions of South Africans across the country will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Human Rights Day on Sunday.

Human Rights Day is commemorated annually 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.

On 21 March 1960, thousands of men, women and children, gathered on the streets of Sharpeville to protest against the draconian pass laws imposed on them by the Apartheid system.

Sixty-nine people were killed on that day. Eight were women and 10 were children. Of the 180 people who were wounded, 31 were women and 19 were children. And today, South Africans - young and old - enjoy the freedom that came after that fateful day.

This year's celebrations, themed "Working together we can do more to protect human rights", will be held at the Sharpeville Cricket Pitch near George Thebe Stadium in Vereeniging. The keynote address will be delivered by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Motlanthe will be accompanied by Arts and Culture Minister Lulama Xingwana and Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe as well as other senior government officials.

As part of the celebrations, Motlanthe will lead a wreath-laying ceremony as well as deliver a keynote address. The crowd will be entertained by various DJs and artists.

In Limpopo, Premier Cassel Mathale will address residents at the Rabali Stadium in the Vhembe district on government's achievements and challenges.

Residents will be bused from several collection points in the province to the stadium for free while various artists will also perform at the stadium.

In the Eastern Cape, the main celebrations will be held at the Javabu Stadium in Uitenhage with Premier Noxolo Kiviet delivering the main address. Entertainment for the crowds will include performances by school choirs.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, will deliver the keynote address at an event to be held at the Lions River sport grounds in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.