Source – Wikipedia

The Sharpeville Massacre was an event which occurred on 21 March 1960, at the police station in the Sharpeville, Gauteng.  A group of between 5,000 and 10,000 people converged on the local police offering themselves up for arrest for not carrying their passbooks.

Passbooks were designed to control the movement of Africans under apartheid rigid law that required all African males over the age of 16 to carry a “reference book” containing personal information and employment history.

After a day of demonstrations against pass laws, a crowd of about 5,000 to 7,000 protesters went to the police station. The South African Police opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people

In present-day South Africa, 21 March is celebrated as a public holiday in honour of human rights and to commemorate the Sharpeville massacre.  Since 1994, 21 March has been commemorated as Human Rights Day in South Africa.

Sharpeville was the site selected by President Nelson Mandela for the signing into law of the Constitution of South Africa on 10 December 1996.

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