69 whites to honour Sharpeville victims

This is to honour the same number of black people killed by police on 21 March, 56 years ago.

The Sharpeville Garden of Remembrance. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Ahmed Kathrada and the Nelson Mandela foundations have organised 69 white people to honour and celebrate the same number of black people who were killed when police opened fire on protesters in Sharpeville 56 years ago.

Hundreds more were wounded during a peaceful protest in Sharpeville on this day in 1960, during which demonstrators burnt their pass books.

#HumanRightsDay2016 Advocate George Bizos lays a wreath at the #Sharpeville Garden of Remembrance. MR pic.twitter.com/TfECZuiHlZ

Thousands of people have joined Gauteng Premier David Makhura, provincial officials and the families of those who were killed, at the Sharpeville Cricket Pitch to commemorate the day.

The 69 white representatives stood at the pillars in the Sharpeville garden of remembrance - the exact sport where the victims were gunned down.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundations' Neeshan Balton said, "Tackling racism will require all South Africans of all colours, black and white… that is why we have brought a symbolic number of white people here today, to make a statement in terms of remembering our past. It's also to commit themselves to the national effort to eradicate racism in our country."

WATCH: #RememberSharpeville #HumanRightsDay2016 more dancers. Reminding people we are one nation. MR pic.twitter.com/y7TnN2vBQn


At the same time, Makhura says his provincial government has established an anti-racism team, tasked with promoting social cohesion.

He says the 20 members, appointed to the anti-racism task team, will be referred to as the Eminent Group of Nation Building and Social Cohesion Champions.

They will be working with the provincial government to fight against racism and xenophobia.

Makhura says reverend Ray McCauley of the Rhema Church is among the task team's members.

Earlier, the premier told thousands of people gathered to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre, that racism has no place in a democratic country like South Africa.

The premier has also wished all South Africans a happy Human Rights Day.