Sharpville not diminished: Presidency

By Drum Digital
24 March 2012

Not having the Human Rights Day celebration in Sharpeville does not diminish the role played during apartheid by people there, the presidency said on Thursday.

"It means their heroism is now being shared by the rest of the country," President Jacob Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

"We urge the South African public to understand that no single community owns the history of the country."

Maharaj said the presidency had noted that residents of Sharpeville, in southern Gauteng, were upset that the annual Human Rights Day commemoration was not held in their area.

Sharpeville residents burnt tyres and marched on Tuesday because the main celebrations were being held in Kliptown, Soweto.

Human Rights Day was previously known as Sharpeville Day to commemorate the shooting of 69 black protesters by the police in 1960.

Maharaj said it was not the first time the Human Rights Day celebrations had not been held in Sharpeville. Last year the venue was Cape Town.

"We wish to emphasise that the commemoration and celebration of national days take place throughout the country and not necessarily in areas where certain events have a historical link," he said.

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