The aftermath: a tale of the 21st

Captain’s Log: entry No. 21

Following the events of March 21st, 1960, South Africa was flung into more uncertainty as local and international pressure increased around the fortress the NP had built for itself. The following week saw mass demonstrations by tens of thousands of disgruntled black South Africans, leading to a state of emergency being declared on 30 March 1960. Close to 20,000 protesters were detained in the protests: this was the beginning of the end for the NP government.

The Sharpville massacre was a landmark event which caused three major historical occurrences: increased international pressure to abolish apartheid, the banning of the ANC and PAC parties, and the transition these parties made from peaceful protest to armed struggle. In other words, the massacre gave the ANC and PAC the final match stick to ignite their respective Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo military wings.

36 years later, on 10 December 1996, former President Nelson Mandela signed into law the Constitution of South Africa at the sight of the massacre in Sharpville, an event that marked the birth of International Human Rights Day.

The rest is history.

by Lebogang Mashego

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