Celebrating Human Rights Day in South Africa

Robben Island

The PFA celebrated Human Rights Day on 21st March 2019 by visiting Robben Island along with charity partner Oasis who select and oversee the South African Homeless World Cup team, which represent the country each year to raise awareness of Global poverty, discrimination and the right to education and basic needs.

They use football to inspire and motivate, whilst educating young people to live better more fulfilling lives.

Human Rights Day in South Africa

In South Africa, Human Rights Day is celebrated on 21 March, in remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre which took place on 21 March 1960. This massacre occurred as a result of protests against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

South African Human Rights Day was declared a national holiday when the ANC was elected as the government with Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected leader. Parliament’s role on this day is to empower the people so that the democratic processes becomes known to all South Africans.

The commemoration provides the country with an opportunity to reflect on progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights.

The 1960s were characterised by systematic defiance and protest against apartheid and racism across the country. On March 21 1960, the community of Sharpeville and Langa townships, like their fellow compatriots across the country, embarked on a protest march to march protest against pass laws.

The apartheid police shot and killed 69 of the protesters at Sharpeville, many of them shot while fleeing. Many other people were killed in other parts of the country. The tragedy came to be known as the Sharpeville Massacre and it exposed the apartheid government’s deliberate violation of human rights to the world.

The democratic government declared March 21 Human Rights Day to commemorate and honour those who fought for liberation and the rights enjoyed today.

The PFA held a small tournament on Robben Island in memory of the thousands of relatively unknown prisoners who played football on Robben Island and set up the Makana Football League 50 years ago, alongside some prominent future South African Leaders to honour their bravery and courage and fight for justice and freedom.