Friday, March 21, 2008

SAHRC says SA has a long way to go

By Rhodé Marshall
21 March 2008


On this day, 48 years ago on 21 March 1960, 300 demonstrators lead by the Pan Africanist Congress took to the streets of Sharpeville to hand over their passes at the police station in defiance of the pass laws.

The police then opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people and injuring 180. Today a different kind of defiance takes place as events of racism and brutality from one South African to another increase by the day.

Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Jody Kollapen says South Africa still has a long way to go before things like racism and discrimination is eradicated.

“What we have in South Africa was put in place 350 years ago. Since then we have institutionalised discrimination and racism over a long period of time.

“It would not be so easy to get rid of it simply by passing laws. Some people prefer to hang onto the past and to try and think that they can live out the past with all their prejudices,” says Kollapen.

Kollapen says the events that took place in Sharpeville were just in act of South Africans who were tired of being victimised under the unjust Apartheid laws.

“I think it began a development of a new phase in our struggle that led to our ultimate liberation in 1994, so I think it (Sharpeville Massacre) was quite a turning point,” Kollapen said.

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