• Written by  Sowetan
  • Published in In the News
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In memory of the Sharpeville dead

The ANC and PAC buried any differences they might have when they honoured victims of the Sharpeville Massacre at the weekend.

For the first time in many years the ANC and PAC shared the podium at the commemoration of the 69 people who died, and 180 who were injured, at the hands of apartheid policemen in Sharpeville, Vaal Triangle, on March 21 1960.

They had been demonstrating against the pass laws outside the Sharpeville police station. The police opened fire on the unarmed citizens without warning.

The day was originally commemorated as Sharpeville Day and is now known as Human Rights Day.

The commemoration started at the Sharpeville cemetery, where wreaths were laid on the graves of the fallen heroes.

Relatives, victims and survivors of the massacre stood next to the graves holding wreaths.

Selloane Phetane, a member of the Khulumani Support Group, applauded both parties for joining hands in honouring the Sharpeville heroes.

Phetane said: “I am honoured to see both parties united. Those who died belonged to both parties .”

Representing the PAC, Mbuyisa Gantsu said it was not by accident that the two parties had joined hands to remember their fallen heroes.

“We are working together to pay homage to those who died for us,” Gantsu said. “We have to work together to unite the community, victims and families.”

He said they would not forget the heroes who died to liberate the country.

“They did not live to enjoy the fruits of the democracy that they fought for,” Gantsu said.

Emfuleni local municipal executive mayor Dikeledi Tsotetsi said people should embrace the fallen heroes for restoring pride to black communities.

Tsotetsi said she was angered by the racist acts that had taken place recently in South Africa.

“Our dignity has not been properly restored, though we are living in a democratic country.” she said. “The youth must know that our enemy's strongest weapon is to divide us.”

And an injury to one was an injury to all, she said.

The group moved to the Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct where they were joined by Gauteng MEC for sport, art, culture and recreation Barbara Creecy, and members of the Anglican Church.

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