Human Rights Day: Sharpeville Residents Accuse the Government of Remembering Them Once A Year

Human Rights Day: Sharpeville Residents Accuse the Government of Remembering Them Once A Year

  • The current residents of Sharpeville residents say Government only delivers basic services to them ahead of Human Rights Day
  • Residents stated that services such as grass cutting, the cleaning of streets and even cemeteries only happens once a year
  • On social media, South Africans have shared a few posts in remembrance of the lives lost over 60 years ago

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SHARPEVILLE - On Monday, 21 March, a number of events to commemorate the massacre of 69 people during apartheid are expected to take place in Sharpeville. However, the current residents feel like Government only remembers them once a year.

On this day in 1960, a group of protestors had gathered in the small township outside Vereeniging to protest against apartheid pass laws.

Sharpeville massacre, Human rights day, residents call out government, only remembered once year
Sharpeville residents say they only see action from Government once a year. Image: The Times/Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

The stand-off between the police and residents resulted in some of the deadliest events during the apartheid era and saw approximately 180 people being injured, according to TimesLIVE. The protestors were unarmed when police retaliated against them.

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Sharpeville residents say Government forgets about them

Speaking to EWN, a Sharpeville resident stated that the only action they see from Government only takes place around this time of the year. They say this is the only time basic services are delivered.

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The resident stated this is the only time they will see the grass being cut, the streets being swept or the councillor actually doing some work.

"I don’t know why they do this, but I think they only clean up when they know the president and other guests are coming to Sharpeville," said one resident.

An elderly woman who has lived in Sharpeville for many years says after the festivities around Human Rights Day end, all the work that was being done comes to an end until the following year. The woman says even cemeteries are not taken cleaned or taken care of before 21 March.

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"They only clean the graves up to the run-up of this day, thereafter, it is up to you to clean your loved one’s grave," she said.

South Africans remember the Sharpeville Massacre

Heading online, South Africans have shared their thoughts on the tragic killing of 69 people in Sharpville over 60 years ago.

Here's what they had to say:

@TshweuMoleme said:

"Sharpeville continues, in many forms. It ain’t over! We cannot just observe Human Rights Day in S. Africa, or the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (proclaimed by the UN in 1966, after Sharpeville). We need to do more. We need action on the ground."

@Kea91492014 said:

"Today is not about anyone else but The 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, today it's about the brave South Africans who lost their lives and were injured defending this beautiful country of ours #SharpvilleMassacre #PutSouthAfricansFirst #OperationDudula"

Twitter users reflect on Human Rights Day and the Sharpeville Massacre

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Briefly News previously reported that South Africans have taken to social media to reflect on Human Rights Day and the Sharpeville Massacre. Quite a few people are questioning whether the public holiday should be renamed to reflect the history of the day.

Twitter users have celebrated the importance of the day in the history of South Africa and its impact on ultimately helping to end apartheid.


"Today marks 61 years since the Sharpeville Massacre. A recorded number of 69 revolutionaries was gunned down by the Apartheid regime on this day (21 March 1960). #SharpevilleDay #SharpevilleMassacre."

Source: Briefly News

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