THE BLOG
21/03/2018 07:35 SAST | Updated 21/03/2018 07:35 SAST

Let's Remember The Sharpeville Massacre Heroes And Heroines On This Day

We must never forget where we come from, but at the same time not allow the past to define our future.

Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images
The Sharpeville massacre occurred on 21 March 1960, at the police station in the South African township of Sharpeville in Transvaal (today part of Gauteng).

A wise man can teach you wisdom. A strong man can teach you how to rely on your inner strength. A rich man can teach you how to invest your money. A good leader can teach you how to follow your dreams. A good human rights activist can teach you about all your rights. But no one can teach you how to stand up against what is wrong, because no one can teach you to oppose what he had agreed with.

The people of Sharpeville had had enough of the pain and injustice and human indignity. They had no rights, only a wrong and brutal apartheid system.

Their agony inspired bravery and awakened the warriors within them. To quote Martin Luther King Jr, "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward." They knew deep in their hearts that they had to keep moving. Once the desire for change is greater than the fear, then change is at the doorpost.

What happened in Sharpeville shouldn't only be lamented as part of our history as a nation, it should also inspire every generation to play their role in making our motherland a better place.

Let us make sure we never forget the selfless efforts and sacrifices that people of Sharpeville made for our priceless freedom.

We owe it to ourselves and those who died for our freedom to continue with the struggle. We should not want to be heroes and in turn, just do the right thing. To ensure we give the very same gift we inherited to the next generation. The gift of prosperity, stability and security. Besides, what is the purpose of human rights, if the system is still wrong?

South Africa is a blessed and beautiful nation, and we have a rich heritage. A heritage that we should teach and learn from. We must never forget where we come from, but also not allow the past to define our future. Our nation deserves a decent dialogue that will lead us to realisation, accountability and genuine reconciliation.

Let us make sure we never forget the selfless efforts and sacrifices that the people of Sharpeville made for our priceless freedom.

I am humbly and kindly requesting all South Africans, irrespective of race, gender, religion and status, to join me in lighting a white candle on March 21, Human Rights Day at 9pm for an hour, the hour of hope. And to pray for the surviving family members of the Sharpeville victims, as well as a forgiving spirit and progressive nation.