Video on my visit to Sharpville today
On 21 March 2012, Human Rights Day in South Africa, our family visited Sharpville to learn more about what had happened there. On the 21 March 1960, 60 people were killed and over 200 people injured as police opened fire on a peaceful crowd who were coming to hand themselves over to the police as they has left their pass books at home as a non violent protest action against caring pass books.
What we found on our visit was a community who felt neglected. The SA government has moved the commemoration of the day away from this historic site to Soweto. The people we spoke to were still deep in poverty and many not part of the economic mainstream. The PAC has arranged it’s own commemoration with the community.
I spoke to a man who had lost his uncle in the masacre. He said that no one has apologized to him or his family for what happened on that day.
Our family was quite touched by the events and left wondering what our role could be in the new South Africa. Surely we, as white middle class South Africans have a role to play in breaking these chains of poverty, in speaking up on behalf of the poor and the oppressed and in ensuring that we have a more just and equitable society.