It’s Human Rights Day in South Africa! (And a public holiday)

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Hey everybody,

Did you know that it’s Human Rights Day in South Africa today? It certainly is, which also means it’s a public holiday in the country giving us some time off and a long weekend.

Public holidays aren’t held for nothing, though, so it’s very important to acknowledge the tragic event that took place on this day in 1960, the Sharpeville Massacre, so that it may never happen again.


Human Rights Day Origins

On March 21st, 1960, the Apartheid regime government was still overwhelmingly in power meaning brutal restrictions on the rights and movement of non-white residents of South Africa – not even considered full citizens at the time. Following a demonstration against one such restriction, the Pass law, thousands of protesters went to a police station in the township of Sharpeville (located in what is now known as Gauteng).

While reports differ on how the crowd of protesters approached the police station, the facts state that police officers opened fire on the crowd resulting in 69 people dead and over a hundred injured.

On March 21st, 1996, the South African Human Rights Commission was formed, and now the date is an opportunity to reflect on affordances made to citizens of South Africa with the writing of the Bill of Rights into law, which promotes and upholds our basic and constitutional human rights.

How will you be spending your time on Human Rights Day today? Whatever you’re doing, we hope everyone in South Africa is able to have a bit of time off leading into the weekend. See you all again bright and early on Monday morning!

- The El33tonline Team

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