Human Rights Day is almost upon us, falling this year on Monday 21 March 2016. This important South African holiday serves as both a reminder of the happenings at the Sharpeville massacre and celebrates Africa’s dedication toward striving for democracy and equality.
If you’re looking to find new ways of commemorating this national public holiday, here is a round-up of events happening in South Africa that will get you into the festive spirit of Ubuntu.
Johannesburg, being the historical site of the Sharpeville Massacre and many other politically important occurrences, will host some family-friendly features on Human Rights day. These events that will get you into the great outdoors while spending time with your fellow man.
Devote some time to exploring your city on top of the Johannesburg Red Bus. The sightseeing tour is an ideal way to view all of the sites in Johannesburg and learn about their historical significance. This Human Rights 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. If you like, you can also hop off at the Hector Peterson memorial in Orlando West and learn more about the Soweto Youth Uprising, otherwise known as June 16, a day that changed the course of South African history.
If you’re looking to celebrate with something more laid-back, the Mieliepap Music Festival takes places on Human Rights Weekend. There is nothing that quite celebrates the diversity of our country than through music and good cheer. The Mieliepap Music Festival invites South Africans to camp under the stars whilst listening to the tunes of over fifty local musicians. Set to take place at the Tolderia Resort in Johannesburg, festival-goers can listen to music in the surrounds of fields and rivers.
If you live in Pretoria, take the countryside this weekend aboard a vintage steam train. This all-day trip will depart from Hermanstad and takes you all the way through to Cullinan. Upon your arrival to this old mining village, you can enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the restaurants, or a picnic at one of the parks. Upon your journey, sit back, relax, listen to the sounds of the train in motion and enjoy the picturesque scenery as it rolls on by.
The Eastern Cape annually hosts their Human Rights Month programme. For 2016, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in Port Elizabeth will be holding a number of events which will lead up the main celebration on 21 March. This year’s events are sports-related and family-orientated, showing how South Africans can be united, irrespective of race, creed or sexual orientation, through the love of sport and exercise.
Hogsback in the Eastern Cape will be celebrating pride and diversity with their second Parrot Pride celebration. This event brings the local community in an event that commemorates our differences and is the most unique pride weekend the Eastern Cape has ever seen. Attendees can look forward to entertainment by drag-goddess, Roxy le Roux, a variety of cabaret shows, pub prancing, dirty disco, and a champagne breakfast in the Arboretum gardens.
Stellenbosch will be hosting a first-of-its multi-sports festival. This inaugural three-day event unites sports-loving South Africans with a myriad of outdoor, family-fun activities. Sportsmen and women can improve on their game with clinics, or meet up with local sports heroes. If you’re looking to stock up on the latest sports equipment, an eclectic assortment of memorabilia, accessories and products are available for purchasing at the exhibition. While the Cape Argus Sports Show is targeted at a sports-loving niche, the overall aims of the event are to promote healthy and active lifestyles for all South Africans.
Numerous festivals and activities will be held in Cape Town and surrounds. The Cape Town Festival is a fun day out in the sun and is certainly not-to-be-missed. The event, which is currently in its 18th year running, takes place at Company’s Garden in association with Iziko Museum. Music-lovers can look forward to live performances by Jimmy Nevis, Vicky Sampson and Jits Vinger. Apart from the music, festival-goers can purchase various arts and crafts at the fair, and munch on local cuisine at the food market. Attendees can marvel over the talents of local artists at the ‘art in the gardens’ and children can run amok at the Play zone. To commemorate Human Rights Day, the youth and veteran activists are invited to join in on a debate at the Iziko Gallery. The discussion will reflect on the role that language has over preserving our heritage.