I Can! Parc du Cap interviewed learners to find out what they know and understand about Human Rights day, celebrated annually on  March 21 in South Africa.

This is what Phatheka Mgqolozana, one of our deaf learners, had to say about Human Rights.

On March 21, 1960 a crowd of about 5000-7000 black protesters marched to the police station in Sharpeville in Transvaal in the Gauteng Province. Police opened fire on the protesters killing 69 people. Sources still disagree about the crowd’s behavior: Some say they were quiet and peaceful and some say they were hurling stones at the police and that the shooting started then. But I understand one thing about that day, 69 people were killed; children were left without parents and parents without kids. Today 21 March is celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa, in honor of Human Rights and to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre. Some of the rights that those people died for are equality to all, right to education and the right to Social Welfare to name a few.

This is what some of our other learners had to say about the Human Rights day.

Human Rights day is an important day to the people of South Africa. It started on March 21, 1960. The apartheid government had a law that all black people had to carry passes as permission that they can be wherever they are. These documents served as reference books which had to be carried by black people wherever they went and if they failed to produce these documents on demand by the police, it was taken as a punishable offence. The PAC (Pan African Congress) proposed an anti-pass campaign to start on March 21, 1960. African men who were taking part in the campaign were to go without their pass books and present themselves to the apartheid government police. A confrontation with the police took place at the Sharpeville police station which lead to 69 being killed and 180 wounded in Sharpeville alone. Hence this day was dubbed the Sharpeville massacre.  Since then this day in South Africa was marked as Human Rights day in remembrance of those killed.


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