When a year and a half ago 44 miners died in clashes between strikers and the police my brother was physically upset, weeping over what had happened that day at Lonmin mines. My brother is old enough to have a clear memory of the old South Africa: the devastation that occurred on the 16th August 2012 was so terrible that it wasn’t hard to draw a comparison between Marikana and the atrocities that took place on the 21st March 1960.
Tomorrow we ‘celebrate’ Human Rights Day in remembrance of the 69 people who died protesting the Apartheid Pass laws at a police station in Sharpeville. For most of us it’s just another public holiday where we get the day off work, but if we spend even just a moment collectively remembering these people, the people of Marikana, and the countless others that die every year fighting for civil rights, perhaps we will be one step closer to making sure that another ‘Sharpeville’ or ‘Marikana’ doesn’t happen again in our beloved country, in this lifetime or the next.
The eThekwini Municipality, in collaboration with the Alliance Francaise, is holding a concert tomorrow in Sutton Park. In celebration of diversity and tolerance artists will perform in English, IsiZulu, French, Swahili, Kreol and sign language.
Photograph courtesy of SA History Online.