From Sharpeville to Cape Town: Philip Kgosana relives his historic anti-pass march

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Former PAC leader Philip Kgosana leads the procession. Picture: Biénne Huisman
Former PAC leader Philip Kgosana leads the procession. Picture: Biénne Huisman

The road from Langa to Cape Town is about 12km. But it played witness to a vital part of South Africa’s history – the 1960 anti-pass march, which marked a turning point in the country.

Former Pan-African Congress of Azania leader Philip Kgosana walked from Langa to central Cape Town today to commemorate the protest march he led 56 years ago.

Kgosana (79) walked fast, leading the small procession with flags, banners and T-shirts that read: “From Sharpeville/Langa to Marikana” and “Vote PAC 2016”.

The group was transported along a section of the N2 by bus in compliance with city regulations.

Addressing a small crowd at Cape Town’s Grand Bazaar, Kgosana lashed out at the ANC government, and suggested that the PAC was repositioning itself for a comeback in the run-up to the elections.

The PAC currently has only one member in Parliament.

“Enough is enough,” said Kgosana. “When you have political power, you need to build houses for your people, provide them with health and schooling. This has not happened.” 

He continued: “Vast parts of our population are illiterate. How can we say we’re free when 65% of our people can’t read, but they vote those in power back into power. It is terrible how this has worked out.”

On March 30 1960, nine days after the Sharpeville massacre, Kgosana – then aged 23 – led 30 000 protesters from Langa along the N2 and over De Waal Drive to Parliament.

At the time, he agreed to disperse the crowd in exchange for a meeting with then justice minister FC Erasmus. But he was tricked and was arrested once the crowd had dispersed.

Later that day the apartheid government declared a state of emergency and banned all public meetings. 
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