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Sharpeville siblings recall harrowing moments of 1960 massacre

On Thursday in 1960, 69 people were killed and hundreds more injured when police opened fire on protesters who were burning their pass books at the Sharpeville police station.

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 - As the country remembers 59 years since the Sharpeville Massacre, two siblings who still live in the same township have recalled harrowing moments of how their lives were spared.

On Thursday in 1960, 69 people were killed and hundreds more injured when police opened fire on protesters who were burning their pass books at the Sharpeville Police Station.

They were demanding the abolishment of the discriminatory documents.

The chilling account of a 65-year-old grandmother who remembers when she was just 6-years-old playing at the George Thabe Stadium on that tragic day, unaware of how it would change the course of history.

It is exactly the same sports ground where President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the official commemoration celebrations on Thursday.

Meanwhile, her eldest brother, who also still lives in Sharpeville, was 21-years-old when he took part in the march to the Sharpeville Police Station protesting against the pass laws.

Little did he know that he would have a near death experience.

He recalls how two fellow protestors fell on top of him, protecting him from gunshots which ended up costing them their lives.

While both have acknowledged that much has been achieved by the democratic government over the past 25 years, the country still has a long way to go to ensure it closes the inequality gap.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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