One day is not enough: March 21 survivors

Sharpeville massacre survivors say they want to be given more recognition for the sacrifices they made. From left is Selinah Mnguni (81), Abram Mofokeng (78) Agnes Tsoai (78) and Elizabeth Chabeli (69).

SHARPEVILLE. – Next week marks the 58th commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre known as Human Rights Day, where 69 people died and 180 people were seriously wounded when police shot at peaceful protesters on 21 March 1960.

This happened during a protest againt the then pass law which required black people over the age of 16 to carry the pass book at all times.Speaking to Sedibeng Ster, some of the survivors who were busy with preparations for day at the old sharpeville Police Station said that they looked forward to the day as it is a day that must always be remembered in South Africa’s history. Abram Mofokeng said that he still remembers how he ran for his life when the police started shooting on the day.

“We still don’t know why they shot at us. We went there with the intentions of getting arrested for not having our pass books, not knowing that we would get shot at. A lot of people lost their loved ones on the day. Some children even lost their parents. There were 180 survivors but others have died and others just dissapeared.”

Agnes Tsoai said, “Going towards the day of the commemoration, we are hopeful that one day we will be given the recognition we deserve. We just wish that our government would just remember us more often, and not only when the day of the commemoration comes. Some of us are very sick and old and we need proper medical care. The government must not only remember us during this time of the commemoration but they must just always come and see us even during the year.”

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