Human Rights Day has its origins in the events that unfolded at Sharpeville and Langa township in the Eastern Cape, where apartheid police attacked protesters during peaceful anti-pass marches.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the memory of those who died in the Sharpeville Massacre on the 21st of March 1960 will not be forgotten.
This day was about honouring our predecessors for their contribution in the fight for our freedom but as we look to the future we must ask ourselves what our contribution to this future will be, because the fight for #HumanRights is ongoing & it is one we should all be part of pic.twitter.com/w6k6w059pj
— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) March 21, 2019
Marking Human Rights Day in Bloemfontein with dialogue, a lack of basic amenities such as water and housing was uppermost in minds. Criticism was directed at municipalities as poor governance and maladministration remain critical concerns.
“The issue of corruption really takes away from the people because where there is corruption it means the capacity of the state to give services gets affected,” says Free State Human Rights Commission Manager, Thabang Kheswa.
A need to step up the fight against social ills was also discussed.
“I think one of the issues is ignorance especially around children. We have statistics but we need to get to the bottom of why are we so violent, ” says Save the Children SA’s Etienne Bramley.
Residents say not enough is being done to address service delivery challenges.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the plight of farm workers came under the spotlight during Human Rights commemorations at Belgrade, near Phongolo. Government promises to deal decisively with those behind human rights violations on farms.
“This is one of the areas where the rights of the people are still undermined especially the rights of the people who work in farm areas are undermined and we have met with the farm workers yesterday (Wednesday) and we will continue working with them to ensure that they achieved and their rights are protected,” says Acting KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
Peaceful march in Musina
A group of locals and foreign nationals have commemorated Human Rights Day by staging a peaceful march in Musina, Limpopo.
The organiser, Jacob Matakanye, says they’re encouraging the spirit of togetherness and inculcating respect for human rights between locals and the foreign nationals. They also played football matches as part of integration.
Matakanye explains, “We’re saying the foreigners in our country they’re human beings. So when we celebrate Human Rights we must celebrate with them and respect them as humans. After the march we proceeded to the stadium where we engaged the local teams and foreigners teams to play together so that the foreigners can be integrated into the community.”
Constitutional Court unveils Art Collection
As part of the Human Rights Day celebrations, the highest court on the land kick-started its 4-day event today. Among them – the unveiling of a recent acquisition to the Constitutional Court Art Collection – The Dead Zone.
These 41 photographs by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Greg Marinovich tell a story of human rights violations among others.
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