South Africans celebrate Human Rights Day today following the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, but the day was first declared a holiday in 1995.
PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see Briefly.co.za News on your News Feed!
21 March, 1960 was a defining day in South Africa’s turbulent history.
It was the day that the Pan Africanist Congress instigated a protest against the strict pass laws.
The PAC arranged for supporters to march to the Sharpeville police station, thereby tempting the police to arrest them.
READ ALSO: Julius Malema sends strong message to SA: 'Death or economic freedom'
The rationale was to flood the jails and put huge pressure on the economy.
Unfortunately, the plan backfired tragically as police officers opened fire on thousands of unarmed supporters.
The bloodbath resulted in 69 deaths and close to 200 injuries.
In memory of the day and to honour those lives lost, the South African government declared the day an official public holiday in 1995.
READ ALSO: Video of sneaky women using baby to shoplift has Mzansi gasping
PAY ATTENTION: Jay-Z And Kylie Jenner Tie At $900 Million On The 2018 Forbes List Of Wealthiest Celebrities - RJ
The massacre was a turning point in South Africa’s history as it intensified the struggle for liberation.
It was also one of many controversial incidents which inspired our progressive Bill of Rights.
Briefly.co.za understands the South African government is now commemorating the day under the theme: 'The Year of Indigenous Languages: Promoting and Deepening a Human Rights Culture'.
PAY ATTENTION: Do you want to know what's trending on Briefly.co.za? Join our WhatsApp group today.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY’s news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!