LETTER: Heroes gave us our rights

2016-03-29 06:00

On 21 March, South Africans officially celebrate Human Rights Day, declared a public holiday in 1994 following the inauguration of then president Nelson Mandela.

Monday’s celebration paid tribute to those 69 unarmed persons who lost their lives and the countless injured in their pursuit to ensure freedom, fairness and opportunities for all South Africans.

The protest was against the pass laws at the time. The pass law was also humiliatingly referred to as the dompas and was a particular indignation for black men who had to produce it on demand and could be arrested on the spot if they did not have it on them.

Also referred to as heroes’ day, the event marked an awakening across the world to the inhumanity of the apartheid regime. However, it also meant the start of the end for peaceful protests against apartheid in South Africa.

My appeal to you, the unregistered voter, the one who enjoys the freedom of religion, belief and opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to education is to be reminded of those who lost their lives to ensure we have these rights. In addition to accessing these rights let all of us be mindful of the associated responsibilities.

So, don’t say “I don’t need to vote” or “My voice does not matter” but, rather, as an affected stakeholder, find mediums to convey your concerns or support pertaining to issues that affect all South Africans.

Eddie Andrews, Mitchell’s Plain

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