Politicians were out in droves yesterday, taking full advantage of Human Rights Day to win over potential voters. While those who had died at Sharpeville were commemorated, there was the distinct buzz of election-time tension in the air.
The heads of the three largest political parties took to the streets of Mzansi yesterday to remember the true origin of Human Rights Day.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed crowds in Sharpeville, paying his respects to the 69 people who had died while protesting pass books.
The ANC leader encouraged South Africans to watch their words, with the event focusing on indigenous languages. This was a nod to the United Nations, which has declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages:
"In our past, yes language was used as a symbol of oppression. Today, we are here to affirm that language can be used as a source of empowerment and pride. In according all our languages - the respect that they are due - we affirm the dignity, worth and humanity of every South African."
Economic Freedom Fighter head, Julius Malema, commemorated the day with a bombshell address in Sharpeville.
Briefly.co.za reported earlier today that Malema had called for the holiday to be renamed Sharpeville Day in honor of those who had died for black equality:
“Today is the day for the rights of black people, that is what we’re fighting for. What human rights? They always had rights. We never had rights. We are here to fight for the rights of black people and therefore, Sharpeville Day means the rights of black people. We must call it by its rightful name. It’s a Sharpeville Day.”
Mmusi Maimane took to the streets in Bekkersdal, Gauteng this Human Rights Day, interacting with ordinary South Africans face-to-face to hear their input.
Taking to social media, the Democratic Alliance leader lamented the plight of the poverty-stricken in South Africa:
"The plight of the poor people in SA has not been properly dealt with, and many are feeling hopeless and helpless because the ANC government has left them isolated."
The politician insisted that in order to have an inclusive and stable economy, the state needed to function as a neutral agent, maximising opportunities for the people it governs over.
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