“Celebrating 20 Years of changing lives through human rights!


Human Rights Day is a national day that is commemorated annually on 21 March to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa.This national day is both a stark reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of South Africa’s unique Constitution, which gives equal rights to all.


The Sharpeville Massacre

On Monday, 21 March 1960 police opened fire, without order, on a crowd that had gathered at the Sharpeville police station to protest pass laws, stipulations that required Africans to carry “pass” books and produce them for law enforcement officials on request; 69 unarmed people were killed and another 180 were injured.  


The celebration provides the country with an opportunity to reflect on progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights. South Africa is regarded as a beacon of hope on the continent, and internationally, in the promotion and protection of human rights.

South Africans are called upon to celebrate living in a country that guarantees that humanity and dignity will never again be taken away from any South African, irrespective of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.

Human Rights Day in South Africa is a day where all citizens are given the opportunity to reflect on the provisions in the Bill of Rights in the country’s Constitution, which aims to promote and uphold respect for Human Rights. It is a day of promoting Human Rights by engaging in activities that promote equality and promotion of Human Rights in our schools and communities.

The Right to Education is entrenched in the Bill of Rights. Examples of how teachers and learners can commemorate Human Rights Day can be found on the following websites:      (right click and open hyperlink)  (right click and open hyperlink)

A special commemorative event will be held in Sharpeville, Gauteng, on 21 March 2014. President Jacob Zuma is expected to address this year’s Human Rights Day celebration, which will be held under the theme: “Celebrating 20 years of changing lives through human rights”.

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