Human Rights Day is upon us, falling this year on Saturday 21 March 2015. This important national holiday serves as both a reminder of the happenings at the Sharpeville massacre, and as a celebration of South Africa’s commitment to democracy and equal rights.
Here is a round-up of some of the events happening around the country this Human Rights Day:
Johannesburg, as the historical site of the Sharpeville Massacre and many other politically important events, is hosting some some important features on Human Rights day. For one thing, President Jacob Zuma will make an address for this year’s celebrations at the Sharpeville Cricket Grounds in Soweto.
A Red Bus Tour is an ideal way to see the historic sites in Johannesburg. For Heritage Day, combine a City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour with the Soweto Tour. The tour will take you to Chancellor House, Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum, the Hector Pieterson Memorial, Mandela House in Vilakazi Street and the Kliptown Open Air Museum in Walter Sisulu Square, where in 1955, 3000 people came together to adopt the Freedom Charter.
For something a little different, Scifest Africa 2015 will be hosting SciBraai at The Albany Museum in Grahamstown. The event will be themed around how science and technology help ensure access to health, a healthy environment, education, information and other human rights. Speakers will be asked to relate some kind of narrative in which science has played an important role.
The Eastern Cape is at the centre of the Human Rights Month programme for 2015 and will host the main celebration for Human Rights Month on 21 March. The theme this year is “Celebrating the Freedom Charter, Enjoying Equal Human Rights for All“. The main event takes place at the Rosedale Field in Uitenhage.
Mossel Bay will be holding the popular annual Buffalo Rally over Heritage Weekend. The organisers have once again laid on a full programme of entertainment to go along with the bike displays, including live music in the beer tent every day. Profits from the event will go to a local children’s charity, as a pledge of support for the principles behind Heritage Day.
Cape Town will be holding a number of Human Rights day events and activities. The Ubuntu Festival at Maynardville Park being one of the most prominent. Expect live music from South African superstars Mi Casa and local heartthrob Chad Saaiman. Youth dancers, food trucks and special children’s activities support these big musical names. The afternoon’s festivities supports the Amy Biehl Foundation, a non-profit organisation that develops programmes to empower youth in vulnerable communities.
The Cape Town Festival will be commemorating Human Rights Day with free concerts and shows for all at the Company’s Gardens. The fiesta, which is in its 16th year, aims to promote tolerance and understanding among diverse communities. Entry to the Iziko South African National Gallery will also be free on the day, where visitors can enjoy the special exhibition ‘The Refusal of Time’. This is an installation by one of the country’s most famous artists and anti-apartheid figures, William Kentridge. The event will also boast a food market, arts and crafts stalls and a kiddie’s play area.
To celebrate South Africa in a totally different way, why not support our Soccer this weekend? Kaizer Chiefs will host Black Leopards at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on the afternoon of Human Rights Day, while Orlando Pirates will be playing against SuperSport United later that day at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Happy Human Rights Day all!