Top 5 incidences when Human Rights were put in the spotlight

By Drum Digital
20 March 2017

There have been many incidences in South Africa where human rights have been put on the spotlight, we look at the top 5

For just over a year in South Africa, human rights have been put on the spotlight with many incidences that sent the media and ordinary South Africans in a frenzy.

Human Rights Day in South Africa is a commemoration the the Sharpville massacre that took place on 21 March 1960, during apartheid era, when 180 people were wounded and 60 died during a peaceful protest against Pass laws.

South Africa still has a long way to go to combat human rights issues, here are the top 5 incidences:

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  1. Who can forget the courage that brought rage and pride among black South Africans when teenagers at Pretoria Girls High School in Gauteng protested for being discriminated against because of their natural hair. They were told that their hair was untidy and one of the teachers told a girl that her hair looked like a "birds nest". The girls made international news for their courage and brought about a revolution in how schools develop their codes to accommodate black hair.

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2. The following day after the Pretoria Girls High protest, teenagers at Sans Coucie High School in the Western Cape also protested against receiving demerits for speaking their home language at school. Students were commended for their bravery, and the Department of Arts and Culture put out a statement that African children cannot be stopped from speaking indigenous languages in their country of birth.

coffin3. The hearbreaking moment when a video emerged of two white men forcing Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa into a coffin while they threatened to set him alight, the incident sparked mass protest in the country.

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4. Attacks against Nigerian nationals in Rosettenville, after residents complained about crime in the area, sparked xenophobic attacks in other parts of South Africa. While some were saying they were worried about crime, Nigerian government said it was Xenophobia and the world has been watching South Africa closely since then.

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5. South Africans will never forget the words of Penny Sparrow who referred to black Durban beach goers as monkeys. From ordinary South African citizens to politicians and human rights groups. Penny Sparrow put a sharp focus on racism in South Africa, and now the South African government is putting laws in place to criminalise hate speech.

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