SA marks 1960 Sharpeville shooting

Leaders say South Africans must remember what Human Rights Day is all about.

Wounded people lie in the street, 21 March 1960 in Sharpeville, near Vereeniging, where at least 180 black Africans, most of them women and children, were injured and 69 killed. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Leaders around the country are calling on South Africans to remember what Human Rights Day is really about.

From the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s own commemorations to a brand new gender-based violence campaign, South African's countrywide will be reminded of those 69 people killed outside Sharpeville police station in 1960, when more than 5,000 protestors gathered to show their opposition to pass laws.

Thousands are expected to make their way to Sharpeville today to commemorate the sacrifices made by protestors whose deaths brought apartheid into international spotlight 53 years ago.

As ANC and DA officials lay wreaths at Pelindaba Cemetery, the Sharpeville police station and the Sharpeville monument, a throng of South Africans will gather for a three kilometre march lead by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and several MECs.

Meanwhile, The ANC Women's League is beginning a new campaign today to raise awareness around gender-based violence.

This was sparked by several horrific incidents against women and children in recent months.

One of the most high-profile cases was that of Anene Booysen, who was raped by several men and left for dead in Bredasdorp in the Western Cape last month. She later died in hospital.

Her ordeal sparked widespread outrage.

Former first lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has also called on the public to remember the principles of Ubuntu, which is about guaranteeing each individual their human rights.

"Ubuntu demands that we honour those who sacrificed for our freedom by ensuring that children get a good education, have access to quality jobs, that poverty is a thing of the past, that government is accountable," she said.

Pupils at high schools around Gauteng have created their own tribute videos for Human Rights Day.